Beating High Blood Pressure with Food
Nearly half of all adults — 47 percent — have high blood pressure, defined as anything greater than 130/80 mmHg, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those numbers rise with age, to about 70 percent of adults age 65 and older. But one of the most straightforward ways to help get yours under control is to watch what you put on your plate.
One way to achieve this is by adopting the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is rich in fruits, veggies, lean meats, nuts, seeds, whole grains and low-fat dairy. A 2020 review of 30 randomized controlled trials published in the journal Advances in Nutrition concluded that people who adopted the DASH diet saw significant reductions in their blood pressure, even if they didn’t already have hypertension, compared to control groups. Other, earlier research found that following the low-sodium DASH diet reduced blood pressure by about 11 points in those with hypertension.
To get control of blood pressure, it’s best not to focus on one specific food in particular, but to focus on an overall healthy dietary pattern instead. Foods like fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy are rich in micronutrients that work together to regulate blood pressure. They also replace more harmful foods that can elevate blood pressure, like salty snacks. But there are some specific foods that are good to include in your diet, since they are rich in the nutrients that help lower blood pressure. Here are the top foods to eat — and those to avoid.
What about salt and high blood pressure?
It's well-understood that salt, which is primarily made up of the mineral sodium, can contribute to high blood pressure levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans consume far more sodium than they need. The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise that adults should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium each day. If you have high blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends an intake of no more than 1,500 mg daily.
While watching your salt intake is important, it's only one part of the equation. If you want to reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other complications, fill your plate with blood pressure-friendly foods.
How to lower blood pressure with food
What food lowers blood pressure quickly? What is the fastest way to lower blood pressure naturally? Here are 9 foods that can promote normal blood pressure levels and support your overall health:
- Unsweetened yogurt. A recent study showed that yogurt may produce positive blood pressure outcomes for those with hypertension. This is attributed to its high amounts of the minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium—all thought to help regulate blood pressure. Look for unsweetened natural and Greek yogurts, which can be blended with fruits, seeds, and nuts for a healthy breakfast or snack.
- Berries. Strawberries and blueberries are rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. Research has linked anthocyanins to a reduction in blood pressure in people with hypertension. In more good news, berries are delicious! Sprinkle them over your yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal, or enjoy them as a sweet afternoon snack.
- Beets. This root vegetable is high in nitric oxide, a compound that's been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure. Try beets as a side dish or add it raw to salads. You can even purchase beetroot juice (with no added sugar) to drink on its own or add to smoothies.
- Sweet potatoes. Loaded with magnesium, potassium, and fiber, this side dish superstar is a delicious way to lower blood pressure.
- Leafy greens. Cabbage, collard greens, spinach, kale, and other greens are high in nitrates, which have been found to offer blood pressure benefits. It's easier to get your daily dose of greens by varying how you eat them. For example, you can sauté spinach for a tasty side dish, add fennel to soup, or bake a batch of kale chips in the oven.
- Fatty fish. Salmon and mackerel are packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, nutrients that can help lower and regular blood pressure. Just lightly season your favorite filet, add a dash of olive oil, and broil in the oven.
- Whole grains (especially oatmeal). Oats and other whole grains contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Start your morning with a bowl of unsweetened oatmeal, use whole-grain bread for your lunch sandwiches, or have a side of seasoned quinoa with dinner.
- Pistachios. One study showed that eating pistachios can lower blood pressure during stressful times.5 These healthy nuts, best eaten unsalted, can add crunch and flavor to salads of all kinds. You can also blend them into pesto or enjoy a couple of handfuls as a snack.
- Bananas. Just one medium-sized banana packs a powerful potassium punch: 422 milligrams, to be exact. Beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, and avocado are other potassium-rich foods that may help lower blood pressure naturally.
- Kiwifruit. According to one study, eating three kiwifruit daily can help dramatically lower blood pressure. Kiwi is delicious chopped up in fruit salad or sprinkled on top of plain yogurt.
Also see: 7 Tips to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally
The foods listed above fit into the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet guidelines. DASH is an eating plan recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). It's been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering high blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels. The DASH plan generally focuses on:
- Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and desserts.
- Limiting foods high in saturated fat.
- Consuming fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Eating fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils.
Many of these recommended foods can be found in the meal delivery kits, which deliver pre-portioned meals directly to your doorstep. Most of these kits are designed with balanced nutrition in mind.
Foods to avoid with high blood pressure
We've discussed how to lower blood pressure by eating right. But what foods should you skip if you have hypertension? Below are some foods that raise blood pressure quickly or over time. Consume them in careful moderation or avoid them altogether:
- Fatty meats, and processed meats such as hot dogs and sausage
- Salted snacks like pretzels and potato chips
- Canned soups and vegetables
- Dried soup mixes
- Deli meat
- Fast food
- Potato chips
- Salted popcorn
- Salted nuts
- Whole-milk dairy products
- Condiments (ketchup, salad dressing)
- Pickled food in brine
- Boxed mixes for rice, pasta, and potatoes
10 common symptoms of high blood pressure
High Blood Pressure of Hypertension does not typically show symptoms, but if you have any of the following ten symptoms, you should check your blood pressure immediately or see your doctor.
- Severe Headache
- Nosebleed (Epistaxis)
- Tinnitus (Ringing in Ears)
- Sleepiness, Insomnia
- Excess sweating
- Blurred vision
If you have not experienced the above symptoms, it does not mean you don’t have it as the most common side effect is that it has no symptom. The best way to stay healthy is to check your blood pressure regularly. If you are concerned about your blood pressure reading or experiencing any of the above symptoms, please visit or call our Closest Emergency Room for the immediate medical help. We have board-certified physicians, nurses and staff to help you recover and give appropriate advice.
We have ER locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area that are open and here to help you 24/7 If you or your family have a medical emergency.
We have 9 facilities spread across the DFW area with average wait times of less than 10 mins that are OPEN 24/7 located in Hurst, Colleyville, Frisco, Highland Village, Hillcrest, Uptown, Little Elm, Mansfield, and Texoma.