High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It’s called the silent killer because it often has no symptoms, but there are foods you can eat that help lower your blood pressure.
Certain foods have been shown to lower blood pressure, others can raise it. Find out which foods you should be eating and which you should avoid.
It is also worth noting that exercise has been proven to help lower blood pressure as well, but only if you’re doing enough of it.
Here’s a quick rundown of the best and worst foods for your blood pressure.
The Ultimate List of Foods That Lower High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Lifestyle changes are the best way to lower blood pressure, but a healthy diet is a key part of any hypertension treatment plan.
One of the best ways to lower your blood pressure is by eating a healthy diet. However, not all foods are created equal. Here we’ve rounded up the top foods that help lower blood pressure. Here are 15 of the best foods for people with high blood pressure.
- Dark chocolate
- Spinach and other green vegetables
- Berries and citrus fruits
- Fatty fish
- Pomegranates, pistachios, and beets
- Whole grains and seeds
- Citrus fruits
Foods to Avoid That Will Raise You Blood Pressure
Avoid or limit the following foods and drinks that are high in sodium. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you eat a diet that is low in sodium. This means limiting how much salt you eat to 1,500 milligrams per day or less.
These foods are often high in sodium, so check the nutrition label to find out exactly how much sodium they contain:
- Bread or Packaged Bread
- Cold cuts and cured meats
- Pizza or Frozen Pizza
- Packaged Poultry
- Canned Soup
- Sandwiches (e.g., hamburgers, hot dogs)
- Packaged Cheese
- Snacks (e.g., chips, crackers)
The Best Diets to Lower Your High Blood Pressure
The DASH Diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to do exactly that: stop (or prevent) hypertension, aka high blood pressure. It emphasizes the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), which are high in blood pressure-deflating nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fiber.
DASH also discourages foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods and tropical oils, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets. Following DASH also means capping sodium at 2,300 milligrams a day, which followers will eventually lower to about 1,500 milligrams. DASH Diet is balanced and can be followed long term.
The Mediterranean eating plan focuses on fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains — with a little fish or poultry — while discouraging red meat.
The idea is that Mediterranean foods are more likely to deliver a bounty of heart-healthy benefits because they’re rich in polyphenols and other antioxidants thought to protect against everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. The approach has been shown in numerous studies to help people lose weight;
The bottom line
The good news is that there are some simple changes you can make to your diet that may help lower your blood pressure.
Word from our sponsors