There are certain foods that lower blood pressure to help you reduce how much medication you’re taking, or perhaps allow you to wean yourself off of it entirely. If you’re just trying to prevent your blood pressure from reaching a dangerous high, you can start incorporating more of these foods into your diet starting today. Some of them are pretty common, while others might require seeking them out and adding them to your cart the next time you’re out shopping. These should be consumed as part of a comprehensive approach including increased exercise and other lifestyle changes.
Peas – More peas please! They can help you stave off high blood pressure due to the vegetable protein they contain, as well as other vitamins and folic acid for overall cardiovascular support to your system. The best part is they taste amazing, especially if you buy fresh, organic peas. You can also find organic frozen varieties, and these typically only cost a bit more than the conventional kind. The flavor difference is noticeable, as conventional peas tend to be treated with plenty of chemicals.
Pass the peas please.
Baked Potato – Those on a low-carb diet are probably avoiding potatoes, but you may want to add them back into your diet if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure. One of the benefits they may provide is through the kukoamine they contain. It’s not clear whether a single serving of it provides enough to lower your blood pressure, but adding these spuds to your plate seems to be worth it. You can also cook them in other ways too and still enjoy the benefits.
Celery – Celery helps your heart and your veins function better, which has the trickle down effect of keep your blood pressure levels in check. It is thought that by helping to balance blood sugar levels, it also works to maintain a good blood pressure level. The nice part of about all of this is that celery is a superfood, with many other positive benefits including weight loss. Not surprisingly, losing weight is a way to help get your blood pressure down, and maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to reduce your chances of complications arising from high blood pressure.
Green Beans – Green beans have a direct effect on your blood pressure, creating favorable conditions for healthy levels. They do this by helping your body in at least three different aspects, due to the vitamin C content they contain, their fiber content, and also potassium, which has perhaps the most direct effect. You simply can’t go wrong by adding green beans to your plate, just be sure not to smother them in butter. Consider adding slivered almonds to make them even healthier.
Papaya – Although oranges typically get mentioned for their vitamin C content, the papaya contains 144 percent of your daily recommended value per cup. Add to this the mix of other vitamins and minerals, including amino acids, and potassium and you’ll be taking a big step towards wrangling in higher than normal blood pressure levels. The potassium content also helps the general health of your heart. The added bonus is that papaya tastes great, so if this is one fruit that doesn’t currently make your fruit rotation, consider adding it to the lineup.
Just don’t add a bunch of brown sugar.
Oatmeal – You may be tired of hearing how good oatmeal is for you, especially if you don’t care for the taste. But if you’re concerned about your blood pressure levels, and loathe taking so much medication for the condition, you might be able to reduce your prescription by increasing your oatmeal intake. One study found that oat ingestion reduces systolic and dialostic blood pressure in patients with hypertension. And it doesn’t require that you eat bowl after bowl of it, just a morning bowl will make a big difference. Try to avoid the flavored types as these add unnecessary sugar, which will only raise your blood glucose levels and negate some of the effect.
Guava – If you want to mimic the results of this study, then you should aim to eat guava daily. It might be hard for you to get guava in your part of the world, but it’s worth seeking out. The fruit is said to provide these results because of its high potassium levels. It also contains healthy amounts of fiber, so it helps your digestive system move things along, which has other health benefits to the body besides lowering blood pressure, including assisting in weight loss efforts.
Yogurt – Depending on how much stock you give studies that are partially funded by yogurt companies, there may be some benefit to having a daily low-sugar yogurt. It’s basically banking on the fact that yogurt contains potassium, as well as magnesium and calcium, so as long as you keep the sugar content low you’ll be working to keep your blood pressure low. This is definitely not the silver bullet when it comes to knocking down your blood pressure, but if consumed with other foods on this page it may show results.
Tomatoes – With all of the press that tomatoes get you’d think they were some sort of superfood. Actually, they are. Blood pressure is just one of the many things that tomatoes have been shown to help with. Like many of the other conditions its good for, the lycopene is said to be the reason for the improvements. Helping with everything from diabetes prevention to premature aging of the skin, there are plenty of reasons to keep the tomatoes coming. When preparing and consuming them, it’s best to cook them to enhance their lycopene content.
Kiwis – These fuzzy little green fruits are not just sweet and yummy to eat. They’ve also been shown to help keep blood pressure from becoming a problem. We recommend eating about a few a day because they’re small. This might not be too feasible, since you might tire of them quickly, or they could go bad, or it could get expensive. But adding them to your grocery list and consuming them along with other foods rich in antioxidants and you should be covered as far as battling free radicals goes.
Blueberries have a direct impact on blood pressure.
Blueberries – Blueberries have plenty of antioxidants in them, as do raspberries, and these have a direct impact on your blood pressure by knocking out free radicals in your system. You can also avoid eating foods that increase the levels of free radicals in your body. Consider eating a bowl of fresh blueberries mixed with other fruits as a refreshing breakfast. Just do your best to eat them without adding sugar to them, or adding them to things like pancakes or muffins, which dilutes the overall effect it has on the body.
Spinach – Spinach makes several lists on our site here, including our list of superfoods, and is a key ingredient in several detox drinks. Here’s one more good thing about spinach: it helps to keep your blood pressure down. It does this mostly due to its nutrient dense nature, containing plenty of antioxidants in it to help the body repair damage done from free radicals. The great part is that you can eat it straight up in a salad, or you can add it to a smoothie for an instant upgrade. It forms the foundation to many green smoothies that are all the rage.
Avocados – Avocados attack high blood pressure from multiple angles, with the potassium they contain, the fiber, and the monounsaturated fat that they’re high in. This three-pronged approach really sets you up for having a better chance of keeping things stabilized. It’s super easy to start eating more of them as well. They complement many health conscious meals, and can be used to top off anything from salads to tacos. They can also be eaten directly, and used as a snack to hold you over between meals. Because of the fat content you end up feeling fuller longer.
Cantaloupe – Hope you’re hungry because you’ll have to eat half a cantaloupe to get the same amount of potassium you get from a banana. But that’s not all a cantaloupe contains that aids in keeping your blood pressure groovy. They also assist the body in healing itself through antioxidants. Foods containing healthy levels of potassium help to keep cholesterol levels down, which is why you should have some each day, and not just as a “once in awhile” compromise.
Prunes – Clinical tests have proven that prunes are good for the body, and especially for blood pressure. They help to create a significant reduction of the bad cholesterol in the body, and a byproduct of this is lowered blood pressure. They’re also well known for their laxative properties, helping to relieve cases of constipation, and keeping the body regular if consumed on a daily basis. The nice part is you don’t have to go overboard and eat several prunes each day, but having a serving daily would go far in your quest for lowered BP levels.
Packed full of Vitamin A.
Carrots – It can be hard crunching up enough carrots to make a difference to your blood pressure, which is why it’s a good idea to drink them instead. You might consider investing in a juicer to get at the good stuff that carrots contain. Most are aware that carrots are good for the eyes, but they also contain antioxidants and potassium, two major supporters of normal blood pressure levels. The specific type of fiber that carrots contain also helps to keep you free and clear.
Pineapple- Pineapple contains an special anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelaine that has multiple benefits on the body. One of which is lowering blood pressure. Research shows that bromelain helps increase circulation, which reduces blood pressure and keeps the body’s circulatory system healthy. It also tastes great and can eaten raw as a snack, so be sure to include lots of this fruit in your diet.
Dandelion – It makes you wonder who the first person was to look at a dandelion and consider it a food source. But now we’re discovering that there are plenty of reasons to eat this flower, including lowered blood pressure. The key is to make sure that you’re eating potassium-rich foods while you’re taking dandelion root extract, as it works as a diuretic and will help the body get rid of excess fluid. Diuretics have been used to treat high blood pressure for quite some time, and this is a natural way to go about it.
Salmon – You have to make sure that the salmon you choose is wild salmon if you want to reap the blood pressure benefits from it. The omega-3s it contains have plenty of different benefits for the body, one of which is that it helps to reduce blood pressure, which means that you’ll end up having an improved circulatory system in general. It is often recommended to add this to your menu a few times a week, and you will also be helping to ward off heart attacks and even cancer.
Unsweetened Almond Milk – Research shows that nut consumption is a good way to keep your blood pressure down. With almond milk you’re getting the combination of calcium, healthy fats, magnesium, and potassium, but without the sugar. The temptation may be to have it in a bowl of sugary cereal or to wash down some chocolate chip cookies with it, but drinking it solo is the best way to keep things healthy. Try using unsweetened almond milk in your smoothie recipes for a dairy-free way to start your day.
Who knew watermelon was such a superfood?
Watermelon – Watermelon is one food that most people don’t mind getting more of, especially when they find out just how good it is for them. In the case of the rise and fall of blood pressure, it helps because of all the L-citrulline it contains. This helps to relax your arteries, and thus results in lowered BP levels. So don’t save this as a summertime treat. Consider having “melon mornings” regularly where you simply start your day with an assortment of fresh melon, including cantaloupe which also makes this list.
Raisins – Raisins make a great and portable snack. Just be sure that you’re not getting ones that have a lot of added sugar, and opt for the organic upgrade to make sure that they were made with organic grapes. The thought is that it’s the potassium content of raisins that does the trick, and since they’re delicious this is one change you can make starting right away without having to commit to much. It’s the little changes that add up to something big over time. Raisin bran wouldn’t qualify, as most brands add generous amounts of heavily-processed sugar.
Spices – Just because you’re trying to get your blood pressure down doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. There are several spices that are known to help keep the body in a relaxed state, and help your circulatory system function optimally. Garlic and oregano are two that you can add to your foods in order to add instant flavor, but also to help with your heart health. If you’re doing some baking or dealing with sweets you can sprinkle some cinnamon for extra heart disease prevention.
Beans – Beans are often suggested for diabetic diets because they help to balance blood sugar levels. But recent findings suggest that they also have a positive effect on blood pressure levels as well. The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to increase your level of bean consumption, with many restaurants offering the option to switch out side dishes with black beans. Plus, beans are tasty and help you to feel fuller longer and can help you lose weight if you’re trying to.
Dark Chocolate – It’s important to stress that this is dark chocolate, and you won’t get the same benefits from eating milk chocolate, especially not the kind found in many of the mainstream candy bars, like a Hershey bar, Snickers, Kit Kat, etc. The antioxidants in dark chocolate will help fight off free radicals to lower BP. The trick is limiting yourself to a small daily portion, and not over-consuming it. Eating more of it does not increase the benefits so keep portions in check and go for the long-term approach and daily intake.
Drink a daily glass of beet juice.
Beets – Beets have managed to fly under the radar for several years, but their secret powers are becoming more and more well known. In this case it’s the juice from beets that is supposed to yield the most benefits, and you’ll have to commit to having a daily glass of it. If you’re not too fond of the taste, it may be worth getting used to. Many drinkers of it say that it’s an acquired taste, and while they started off not really liking it, they came to tolerate it, and finally to enjoy it.
Bananas – The potassium content of bananas is well-established, and they make great portable snacks you can eat anywhere. Plus, they’re perfectly portioned, and you don’t have to wash them before you eat them. The recommendation is that you eat two of them per day for the best effect on your blood pressure. Add a third banana to the mix if you want to try to prevent getting a stroke, helpful for those that have a family history of strokes.
Walnuts– An assortment of nuts have been shown to help keep blood sugar levels in check, and also aid in helping you to feel full longer, as well as helping to build lean muscle. The healthy fats in walnuts go a long way in regards to your general health and well-being. They also have vitamin E and potassium, which is a recurring theme with several foods on this page. Other good choices are almonds and pistachios, but be sure not to overdo it, too much of a good thing and it’s no longer a good thing.
Oranges – The vitamin C in oranges acts as an antioxidant, and in addition to helping you fight off colds by strengthening your immune system, it can help to lower your blood pressure. You can drink it as juice, or eat it as whole oranges, but it’s best not to rely on them entirely and to mix things up as part of an overall shift in your diet. It’s recommended to eat an assortment of fruits, and we’ve listed several here for you that will help you to keep your diet assorted and colorful with healthy fruits.
Three Foods That Raise Blood Pressure
Fast Food – The heavily processed nature of fast food means that you’re getting a lot of additives, copious amounts of sodium, sugar, and caffeine with most any meal you order. Not to mention the high fat contents, including high levels of saturated fats and trans fats. A single trip to a fast food restaurant can set back your efforts and leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated, and can instantly raise your blood pressure again. It’s best to simply avoid it altogether rather than try to determine what is healthy and what isn’t.
Alcohol – You’re immediately increasing the number of free radicals in your body when you drink alcohol, not to mention creating a toxic environment for your liver. You would need to drink the alcohol in excess for it to have an immediate effect on your blood pressure, but even drinking it in moderation is causing an unhealthy environment in your body. It’s best to save it for special occasions if you are trying to keep yourself as healthy as possible, and if you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure you may want to cut it out completely.
Caffeine – Caffeine works on a physiological level to stimulate your body, which includes raising your heart rate. One study found that coffee intake increases blood pressure in people with hypertension for three hours after drinking it. If you’ve become addicted to caffeine and feel like you need it to start functioning at the beginning of your day, you should seriously consider weaning yourself off of it or going cold turkey. If you start to get caffeine headaches when trying to quit, it’s a sure indication that your body is addicted to it, and you’ll benefit greatly from getting of this bona fide drug.
See our list of other unhealthy foods to avoid
It’s worth the time and effort to try to lower your blood pressure if you have hypertension. It’s a precursor to a host of other problems and conditions that can really take a toll on your life expectancy. If you’re part of the nearly one third of Americans that suffer from it, the one consolation is that you can take steps to correct it, and there’s no such thing as a terminal case of high blood pressure, there are always steps you can take to bring it down to normal levels, either by dietary and lifestyle changes or with medication or a combination of both.
Feeling a little stressed out? Lower your blood pressure by taking a look at our list of 105 Ways to Relieve Stress.