The 17 Best Foods for High Blood Pressure

The 17 Best Foods for High Blood Pressure

Adopting a heart-healthy diet can aid in reducing blood pressure. Foods rich in nutrients like potassium and magnesium can be particularly beneficial.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a leading preventable risk factor for heart disease. With over 1 billion people worldwide affected, it’s characterized by systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 130 mm Hg or higher, diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) exceeding 80 mm Hg, or both.

Adopting lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments can aid in lowering blood pressure and reducing heart disease risk. Additionally, doctors may prescribe medications like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

Incorporating potassium and magnesium-rich foods into your diet can help lower blood pressure. Here, we present the top 17 foods to combat high blood pressure.

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Citrus fruit | Salmon and other fatty fish | Leafy greens | Nuts and seeds | Legumes | Berries | Amaranth | Olive oil | Carrots | Eggs | Tomatoes and tomato products | Broccoli | Yogurt | Herbs and spices | Potatoes | Kiwifruit | Lean meats | Frequently asked questions | The bottom line

1. Citrus fruit

Citrus fruits offer potential benefits for lowering blood pressure due to their rich content of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. Varieties like grapefruit, oranges, and lemons are particularly noteworthy.

A 2021 study reviewing a decade’s worth of data highlighted the positive impact of consuming about 530 to 600 grams of fruit daily, equivalent to roughly four oranges, on blood pressure management. Citrus fruits, in particular, have been associated with a reduced risk of high blood pressure.

Consuming orange and grapefruit juice may also contribute to blood pressure reduction. However, it’s essential to note that grapefruit and its juice can interact with common blood pressure medications. Therefore, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before incorporating these fruits into your diet.

2. Salmon and other fatty fish

Fatty fish provide a rich source of omega-3 fats, offering significant heart benefits by reducing inflammation and potentially lowering blood pressure levels.

A recent 2022 study analyzing data from 71 studies and nearly 5,000 individuals found that consuming between 2 to 3 grams of omega-3 fats daily, equivalent to about a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon, showed the most significant reduction in blood pressure.

Moreover, incorporating higher levels of omega-3 fats from sources like fish into the diet may also decrease the risk of high blood pressure in young adults without a history of heart disease or diabetes.

3. Leafy greens

Leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach offer potential benefits for lowering blood pressure.

Rich in nutrients like potassium and magnesium, Swiss chard provides 20% and 36% of your daily potassium and magnesium needs in just 1 cup (175 grams) of cooked greens.

Recent studies indicate that increasing dietary potassium intake, such as from leafy greens, may lead to lower systolic blood pressure (SBP), especially in individuals with high sodium levels.

Spinach, another leafy green, contains nitrate, a plant-based compound associated with blood pressure reduction. It’s also packed with antioxidants, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which support heart health.

While earlier studies suggested that high-nitrate leafy greens could lower blood pressure, recent clinical research has not replicated these findings. Further studies are needed to explore these results.

4. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds can potentially benefit blood pressure.

Including pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, chia seed, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds in your diet may help manage blood pressure due to their nutrient-rich profiles, including fiber and arginine. Arginine aids in nitric oxide production, essential for blood vessel relaxation and blood pressure regulation.

Although some research suggests a link between nut or seed consumption and lower blood pressure, clinical studies yield mixed results. Short-duration studies may not capture the full impact on blood pressure reduction.

Extended research duration could provide better insights into the effects of nuts and seeds on blood pressure regulation.

5. Legumes

Legumes, like lentils, beans, and peas, are packed with nutrients like magnesium and potassium, which play a role in blood pressure regulation. While observational studies suggest legumes may lower high blood pressure, a recent 2023 review of clinical studies found no significant link. However, larger and longer studies may shed light on the potential impact of legumes on blood pressure levels.

6. Berries

Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, chokeberries, strawberries, grapes, and cranberries, offer notable health benefits, potentially reducing heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure. Rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which boost nitric oxide levels and lower blood flow-restricting molecules, berries may help regulate blood pressure levels. However, more research in humans is necessary to confirm these effects. Clinical studies have shown that various types of berries, whether whole, freeze-dried, or in juice form, can reduce systolic blood pressure (SBP) by over 3 mm Hg. Cranberry juice, in particular, exhibited the strongest effect on lowering SBP.

7. Amaranth

Incorporating whole grains like amaranth into your diet may help lower blood pressure levels. Research indicates that diets rich in whole grains can reduce the risk of high blood pressure. If amaranth isn’t your preference, consider trying other whole grains like whole oats, quinoa, brown rice, corn, whole grain bread, or whole wheat pasta.

A comprehensive review of 28 studies revealed that increasing daily whole grain intake by 30 grams was associated with an 8% reduction in the likelihood of high blood pressure.

Amaranth stands out as a whole grain high in magnesium. Just one cooked cup (246 grams) provides 38% of your daily magnesium needs.

8. Olive oil

The oil derived from the fruit of the olive tree offers various health advantages, including reducing blood pressure and mitigating other heart disease risk factors.

A 2020 review of studies highlighted the nutrient and plant-based compound content of olive oil, such as omega-9 fat oleic acid and antioxidant polyphenols. These components make olive oil a valuable addition to diets aiming to lower blood pressure.

9. Carrots

Crunchy, sweet, and packed with nutrients, carrots are a popular vegetable in many diets. Rich in plant-based compounds, carrots play a potential role in various health functions, including blood pressure management.

A recent 2023 study revealed that consuming approximately 100 grams of carrots daily (equivalent to about 1 cup of grated raw carrots) was associated with a 10% decrease in the likelihood of high blood pressure.

10. Eggs

Eggs are not just packed with nutrients but may also play a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

A recent 2023 study conducted among 2,349 adults in the United States discovered that consuming five or more eggs per week was associated with a 2.5 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) compared to those eating less than half an egg per week. Additionally, regular egg consumption was linked to a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure in the long term.

Furthermore, eating eggs does not seem to be associated with other heart disease risk factors besides blood pressure. Current evidence supports that adults in good health can enjoy up to 3 eggs per day.

11. Tomatoes and tomato products

Tomatoes and their products boast a wealth of nutrients, including potassium and the carotenoid pigment lycopene.

Lycopene is associated with notable benefits for heart health, and incorporating lycopene-rich foods into your diet may aid in lowering heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure.

A comprehensive review of 21 studies concluded that consuming tomatoes and tomato products can positively impact blood pressure levels, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and related fatalities.

However, some studies have shown mixed results regarding the relationship between tomato consumption and blood pressure. Further clinical studies may be necessary to elucidate this association.

12. Broccoli

Broccoli is celebrated for its numerous health benefits, particularly for your circulatory system. Incorporating this cruciferous vegetable into your diet could be a wise strategy for managing blood pressure.

Rich in flavonoid antioxidants, broccoli may support lower blood pressure by improving blood vessel function and boosting nitric oxide levels in the body.

An extensive study involving 187,453 individuals revealed that those who consumed four or more servings of broccoli per week had a reduced risk of high blood pressure compared to those who ate broccoli once a month or less.

13. Yogurt

Yogurt, a nutrient-rich dairy product, boasts minerals essential for blood pressure regulation, such as potassium and calcium.

A comprehensive review of 28 studies revealed that consuming three servings of dairy daily was associated with a 13% lower risk of high blood pressure. Additionally, each 7-ounce (200-gram) increase in daily dairy intake correlated with a 5% reduction in high blood pressure risk.

In a 2021 study, individuals with high blood pressure who consumed one serving of yogurt daily exhibited lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) levels. However, no significant effects were observed among those with normal blood pressure levels.

Researchers noted that increasing yogurt consumption by one serving per day corresponded to a reduction of 1.44 mm Hg in SBP. For instance, enhancing yogurt intake from 2-4 times weekly to 5-6 times weekly could be beneficial for individuals with high blood pressure.

14. Herbs and spices

Certain herbs and spices pack potent compounds that may aid in lowering blood pressure by promoting relaxation of blood vessels.

Research from both animal and human studies suggests that herbs and spices like celery seed, cilantro, saffron, lemongrass, black pepper, garlic, onion powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin, red pepper, ginseng, cinnamon, cardamom, basil, and ginger could potentially help reduce blood pressure levels.

A recent 2021 study involving 71 individuals at risk of heart disease discovered that consuming 6.6 grams (about 1.3 teaspoons) of a blend of 24 different herbs and spices daily led to lower blood pressure after 4 weeks compared to lower dosages of herbs and spices (3.3 grams/day and 0.5 grams/day).

15. Potatoes

Potatoes offer a range of plant-based compounds that can help manage blood pressure levels effectively.

A medium baked potato (173 grams) with its skin contains 941 milligrams of potassium, meeting 20% of your daily requirement—more than what a medium banana provides.

In a 2021 study, 30 adults at high risk for or with high blood pressure were fed four different diets, one of which included 1,000 milligrams of potassium from potatoes (boiled, baked, pan-heated) for 17 days. By the study’s end, researchers observed a reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) with the potato-rich diet, which was part of an overall healthy diet providing approximately 3,300 milligrams of potassium daily.

16. Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit is packed with vitamin C and essential nutrients like fiber, potassium, and magnesium, crucial for blood pressure regulation.

Rich in plant-based polyphenols and antioxidants, kiwifruit is believed to reduce heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure.

A 2022 study of 43 healthy Asian adults from New Zealand found that consuming two kiwis daily for 7 weeks lowered systolic blood pressure (SBP) by 2.7 mm Hg compared to the group not consuming kiwifruit.

Further research involving larger groups and longer durations is needed to fully understand kiwi’s potential in lowering blood pressure.

17. Lean meats

The USDA defines “lean meat” as meat with minimal fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Lean animal proteins, like skinless chicken breast or beef sirloin, are rich in nutrients vital for blood pressure management.

A study found that substituting lean pork for chicken or fish in a modified DASH diet effectively lowered blood pressure. Chinese research suggests that consuming a variety of protein sources, including lean meats, reduces the risk of high blood pressure.

Including lean meats in your diet can be beneficial for managing blood pressure, considering your preferences, budget, and cultural food choices.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions about foods that could potentially lower or prevent high blood pressure.

What food lowers blood pressure quickly?

While no single food can rapidly decrease blood pressure, a diet abundant in nutrients like potassium may aid in long-term blood pressure management. The DASH diet, comprising fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is endorsed by experts for maintaining optimal levels.

Can drinking water lower blood pressure?

Although drinking water won’t instantly lower your blood pressure, maintaining hydration is crucial for supporting an optimal blood pressure range. Water aids in meeting your daily hydration requirements.

Do bananas lower blood pressure?

Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. While they won’t directly lower blood pressure, they contribute to your daily potassium intake. If bananas aren’t your thing, you can opt for other potassium-rich foods like kiwifruit. A diet rich in potassium can support blood pressure management.

What foods should you avoid if you have high blood pressure?

If you’re dealing with high blood pressure, it’s wise to cut back on foods high in sodium, added sugars, and saturated fat. Opt for leaner cuts of meat instead of fattier ones to help manage your condition.

The bottom line

In addition to other lifestyle changes, adopting a healthy diet can notably decrease blood pressure and mitigate the risk of heart disease.

Incorporating some of the foods mentioned in this article into your diet might be beneficial if you have high blood pressure or aim to keep it in check. However, consulting a doctor or registered dietitian before making substantial dietary alterations is advisable.

Jump to section

Citrus fruit | Salmon and other fatty fish | Leafy greens | Nuts and seeds | Legumes | Berries | Amaranth | Olive oil | Carrots | Eggs | Tomatoes and tomato products | Broccoli | Yogurt | Herbs and spices | Potatoes | Kiwifruit | Lean meats | Frequently asked questions | The bottom line