Do you like grapefruit? Well, if you answered yes to that question and you have high blood pressure, than I have some good news for you. Grapefruits are one of several fruits, including bananas, melons, oranges, tomatoes, and prunes that contain high amounts of potassium, which has been proven to lower blood pressure.
Research has shown that consuming 2-3 grams of potassium a day can lower both your systolic pressure (aka the first number in a blood pressure reading) and diastolic pressure (aka the second number) by at least two points. This may not seem like much, but studies have shown that even a drop that small can reduce heart disease by six percent, and strokes by 14 percent.
In addition, grapefruits contain pectin, which is a fiber that also helps lower blood pressure, and also contain certain other compounds that help reduce artery hardening.
However, (and this is a big however) consuming grapefruit while taking certain blood pressure medications can cause problems. This is because grapefruits and grapefruit juice contain certain compounds that inhibit an enzyme found in the small intestine that breaks down and absorbs medications.
With the enzyme inhibited, this means that higher levels of the medication get into the blood, which can cause problems, as these higher levels can be toxic and can cause organ damage. The effects of this enzyme-inhibition can last for more than twenty-four hours after consuming grapefruit as well.
The following general types of medication are affected by drinking or eating grapefruit products: statins, antihistamines, calcium channel blockers, psychiatric medications, intestinal medications, immune suppressants, pain medications, impotence medications, anti-HIV medications, and antiarrhythmics. Of all the blood pressure medication categories, the one most affected by grapefruits are calcium channel-blockers.
Not every drug that fits in one of these categories is affected by grapefruits though, and I strongly recommend that you talk to your doctor to see if what you’re taking will be affected if you decide to have a grapefruit half or drink a glass of grapefruit juice with your breakfast.
Keep in mind though that even if you can’t have grapefruit, there are still other fruits that also have a lot of potassium, none of which have the same effect as grapefruit, and you could also take potassium supplements instead as well (it’s not recommended that you take both together though).
There’s evidence that shows that people who have diets high in potassium are less likely to have high blood pressure than those who don’t, so if you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure, or if you already have it, adding some potassium-rich foods to your diet will certainly benefit you in the years to come.