Im a doctor – here are three breakfast choices to slash high blood pressure

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is thought to affect around a quarter of all adults in the UK.

It means that your heart is having to work harder than usual to pump blood around the body.

Over time this puts you at greater risk for a number of dangerous medical emergencies such as strokes and heart attacks.

Diet is a major contributing factor when it comes to high blood pressure, with salt being one of the main culprits.

With this in mind an expert spoke exclusively with about foods that can help lower blood pressure.

READ MORE ‘I’m a doctor – here’s a powerful ingredient that can boost your metabolism’

Doctor Deborah Lee, from the Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, specifically recommended three breakfast foods that can tackle hypertension.

Wholegrain cereal

Dr Lee advised choosing whole grain cereals over what is known as refined cereals to lower your blood pressure.

She explained: “In a 2012 study 13,368 male doctors, average age 52, were followed up for 16 years.

“Results showed that those who ate cereal more frequently during the week had the lowest incidence of hypertension.

“The risk of developing hypertension went down as cereal consumption went up.”

As part of this study, whole grain cereals were classified as those that contained at least 25 percent oats or brain.

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When it comes to picking the best cereal, Dr Lee recommended:

  • Porridge oats
  • No-added sugar muesli or granola
  • Shredded wheat
  • Bran flakes
  • Cornflakes.

She added: “Read the labels. Avoid cereal with added sugar and check it is low in salt. Take care with portion size.”


Dr Lee referenced a 2018 study in which three groups of adults were followed for 30 years.

“Those who are yoghurt five or more times per week had 19 percent, 17 percent and six percent reduction in developing hypertension in the NHS, NHS II and HPFS groups, respectively.

“In fact, consuming all dairy products was linked to a lower risk of hypertension.

“Note that in the study, cream, cheese and butter were not included as ‘all dairy’. The dairy products included were milk (all types), cheese (cottage cheese, ricotta and hard cheese), ice cream, and any type of yoghurt.”

She advised how to select your breakfast yoghurt.

“The choice can be bewildering,” Dr Lee said. “A yoghurt is only a yoghurt if it is made from fermented milk and bacteria.

“Look for yoghurt made with live cultures – these are live bacteria which are probiotics which live healthily in your gut, aiding digestion and enabling a range of metabolic processes which are beneficial for health.

“Yoghurt made with live cultures is not suitable for anyone who has a weakened immune system or is neutropenic.

“Avoid high sugar, sweetened yoghurts, or those with artificial sweeteners.

“Add your own fresh fruit and nuts to yoghurt for breakfast, to get added antioxidants and fibre.”


Dr Lee said: “Eating fruit for breakfast you can’t go far wrong.

“In a 2022 study, home blood pressure readings were collected from 2,283 adults in Malm, Sweden who were not on treatment for high blood pressure.

“Questionnaires were also completed about their fruit consumption.

“Results showed a statistically significant association between lower systolic (upper value) blood pressure readings and increased consumption of fruit, especially bananas, apples, pears and citrus fruit.

“Bananas lowered blood pressure by 2.7 mmHg, apples and pears by 3.9 mmHg and citrus fruits by 3.4 mmHg.”

Dr Lee said the best fruits to lower blood pressure are:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Berries
  • Figs
  • Kiwi fruit.

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