22 Best Natural Foods for High Blood Pressure

What is High Blood Pressure?

Disclaimer

Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, refers to the pressure of blood against your artery walls. Over time, high blood pressure can cause blood vessel damage that leads to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems. Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer because it produces no symptoms and can go unnoticed — and untreated — for years.

CDC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 75 million Americans have high blood pressure. Many risk factors for high blood pressure are out of your control, such as age, family history, gender, and race.

But there are also factors you can control, such as exercise and diet. A diet that can help control blood pressure is rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber and lower in sodium.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is called the “silent killer” for good reason. It often has no symptoms but is a major risk of heart disease and stroke. And these diseases are among the leading causes of death in the United States.

Almost half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure.

Your blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, which is abbreviated as mm Hg. There are two numbers involved in the measurement:

  • Systolic blood pressure. The top number represents the force of the pressure when your heart pushes blood into the arteries throughout the rest of your body.
  • Diastolic blood pressure. The bottom number represents the pressure in your blood vessels between beats when your heart is filling and relaxing.

Your blood pressure depends on how much blood your heart is pumping, and how much resistance there is to blood flow in your arteries. The narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.

Blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal. Blood pressure that’s 130/80 mm Hg or more is considered high.

If your numbers are above normal but under 130/80 mm Hg, you fall into the category of elevated blood pressure. This means you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure.

The good news about elevated blood pressure is that you can make changes to significantly reduce your numbers and lower your risk — without requiring medications.

Salt and processed food

When we think about trying to lower high blood pressure, we usually think of limiting salt and processed foods. But a heart- healthy diet is more than just lowering your sodium intake. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is specifically designed to help manage blood pressure, emphasizes eating many fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and other fiber-rich foods.

“The DASH diet is heart-healthy and is rich in foods that have a high content of calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, and fiber,” explains Marwah Abdalla, MD, MPH, a cardiologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

These nutrients are essential to lowering blood pressure naturally. That said, incorporating these cardiologist-approved foods into your diet, along with taking prescribed medication and following a regular exercise routine, can help lower your blood pressure.

22 Best Natural Foods for High Blood Pressure

1. Low-fat or fat-free yogurt

Low-fat dairy products are a great source of calcium, which is one of the main compounds that help fight high blood pressure. A 12-ounce serving of low-fat yogurt will give you about 30 percent of the recommended amount of calcium for the day.

2. Bananas

Bananas are rich in potassium, with one average-sized banana packing about 420 milligrams. That’s about nine percent of the recommended daily intake. Bananas are also rich in fiber and lend a natural sweetness to smoothies, baked goods, and frozen treats. Peel and freeze mushy bananas when they start to go bad.

3. Berries

Berries, but specifically blueberries, are packed with nitric oxide, a gas that helps increase blood flow, thus lowering blood pressure. A March 2015 study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that even less than an ounce of blueberries a day can help significantly lower blood pressure.

4. Leafy greens

Leafy greens that include kale, spinach, collard greens, arugula, Swiss chard, beet greens, and romaine lettuce are excellent sources of potassium. Think outside of the salad and glorify your greens in omelets, smoothies, and sandwiches.

5. Beets

Similar to blueberries, beets are high in blood pressure-reducing nitric oxide. Research has shown that drinking beetroot juice can help lower your systolic blood pressure by four to five mm Hg. Try adding beetroot juice to your diet, and if you buy store-bought juice, make sure there isn’t added sugar.

6. Garlic

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the compound allicin in garlic may be able to help reduce blood pressure. Allicin is released when garlic is crushed or chopped. However, doctors don’t recommend using garlic supplements since there is limited research on their effectiveness for hypertension.

7. Sweet potatoes

Potassium- and magnesium-rich sweet potatoes are an essential part of following a blood pressure-reducing diet. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber which is good for your heart, too.

8. Oatmeal

High-fiber whole grains, especially oatmeal, have been linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that just three servings of whole grains a day can decrease your risk of heart disease by 15 percent. Oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start your day with whole grains. Add whole-wheat bread at lunch and quinoa, barley, or brown rice at dinner

9. Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and can help lower blood pressure. They are also a great source of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, protect against depression, and regulate blood pressure.

10. Avocado

Creamy avocado is a great source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. One avocado contains about 975 milligrams of potassium, which is about 25 percent of your daily intake.

11. Quinoa

There is a reason quinoa is a super grain: A half-cup contains almost 15 percent of the magnesium you need in a day. Plus, it’s rich in plant-based protein and fiber to relieve constipation, stabilize blood sugar levels, and ward off hunger.

12. Broccoli

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, are high in all the four magic compounds that help lower blood pressure—calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Studies have shown that diets high in cruciferous vegetables have led to lower levels of heart disease and longevity.

13. Peaches and nectarines

Peaches and nectarines are like fruit cousins that share a lot of similar benefits, one of which is their high potassium content. A large peach or nectarine provides about 10 percent of a person’s daily recommended value. The potassium helps balance water levels in the body and helps us get rid of excess sodium.

14. Kiwi

Three kiwi fruit a day has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure, according to a study by Oslo University Hospital. Of course, there is no magic fruit or vegetable that will rid you of your blood pressure problems, but adding more kiwi into your diet may be a good choice.

15. Red bell peppers

Red bell peppers help reduce high blood pressure with the help of potassium and vitamin A. They’re also high in fiber and vitamin C, making it a healthy snack with hummus.

16. Unsalted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are rich in blood pressure-lowering magnesium and zinc. Pumpkin seed oil is also a good way to get the seeds’ benefits. Be warned: Store-bought pumpkin seeds are usually coated in salt, so choose the unsalted varieties or roast your own by baking them in a sheet pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

17. Dark chocolate

Good news for all chocolate lovers: According to a May 2017 study in Heart, flavonol-rich dark chocolate has been linked to a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. The study found that the flavonols in dark chocolate helped promote healthy blood vessel function.

18. Pistachios

Pistachios have been proven to lower blood pressure by reducing blood vessel tightening and heart rate. Pistachios are a healthy way to decrease blood pressure by reducing peripheral vascular resistance, or blood vessel tightening, and heart rate. One study found that a diet with one serving of pistachios a day helps reduce blood pressure.

You can incorporate pistachios into your diet by adding them to crusts, pesto sauces, and salads, or by eating them plain as a snack.

19. Pomegranates

It’s not always easy to eat a pomegranate, especially since they’re so hard to peel, but pomegranate juice is easy to drink and will give you the same benefits. A September 2012 study in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition suggests that the high antioxidant levels in pomegranate juice can help lower blood pressure.

20. Olive oil

Olive oil may be high in calories, but it has many health benefits. Using polyphenol-rich olive oil has been linked to lowering blood pressure—especially among women. Make olive oil your go-to oil when cooking.

21. Skim milk and yogurt

Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. You can also opt for yogurt if you don’t like milk.

According to the American Heart Association, women who ate five or more servings of yogurt a week experienced a 20 percent reduction in their risk for developing high blood pressure.

Try incorporating granola, almond slivers, and fruits into your yogurt for extra heart-healthy benefits. When buying yogurt, be sure to check for added sugar. The lower the sugar quantity per serving, the better.

22. Seeds

Unsalted seeds are high in potassium, magnesium, and other minerals are known to reduce blood pressure. Enjoy ¼ cup of sunflower, pumpkin, or squash seeds as a snack between meals.

7 Drinks for Lowering Blood Pressure

  1. Tomato juice. Growing evidence suggests that drinking one glass of tomato juice per day may promote heart health.
  2. Beet juice. …
  3. Prune juice. …
  4. Pomegranate juice. …
  5. Berry juice. …
  6. Skim milk. …
  7. Tea.

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Please let us know in the comments below:

1. What are your favorite types of blood pressure foods?

2. Do you take fruit juices as well? If so, what kind? If not, why not?

3. What other health benefits do you get from eating your favorite blood pressure food?

Disclaimer

Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/lower-it-fast

https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/g26576559/foods-for-high-blood-pressure/

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