The Best Foods to Eat If You Have High Blood Pressure

Woman making healthy breakfast in kitchen


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Woman making healthy breakfast in kitchen

Pressure Drop

The number of Americans dealing with high blood pressure is inching closer and closer to half of the adult population, making it more important than ever to explore new ways to lessen the negative impacts of hypertension. While foods with higher sodium levels are dangerous to blood pressure levels, there are plenty of foods that can have the opposite effect. To find out more about how some of these foods can help fight against hypertension, Cheapism talked to Megan Wong, a registered dietitian at the dietary-supplement company AlgaeCal, and Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., a registered dietitian and adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University.

Related: 15 Free Ways to Protect Your Heart

Kidney beans in a bowl

Kidney Beans

Legumes such as kidney beans are high in potassium, which is what makes them useful when it comes to lowering blood pressure — potassium helps the kidneys eliminate excess sodium, balancing out the negative effects of high sodium intake. According to Wong, kidney beans in particular should be part of your diet if you struggle with hypertension — Wong says that three-quarters of a cup of kidney beans contains about 537 milligrams of potassium, which is more than a large banana.

Related: Easy and Delicious Rice and Bean Recipes From Around the World

Homemade yogurt in glass jar on wooden table.


Dairy products are full of essential minerals (especially calcium and magnesium) that can help regulate blood pressure, so that alone makes yogurt a contender for this round-up. But what cements yogurt as a go-to choice for people struggling with hypertension is the beneficial bacteria it contains — the bacteria causes the release of proteins that can lower blood pressure. In a recent study, researchers discovered that there is a direct link between eating yogurt daily and lower overall blood pressure, especially for people with pre-existing hypertension issues. 

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Fruit salad with blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and mint leaves on wooden gray background. Flat lay. Top view


Since berries are an excellent source of antioxidants, they are chock full of benefits that make them ideal for lowering blood pressure, according to Young. Young explains that berries contain anthocyanins, which are capable of increasing the bloodstream’s nitric oxide levels, reducing blood pressure.

Fresh raw salmon fillet on cutting board


Omega-3 fatty acids are notorious for a slew of health benefits, many of which are tied to heart health and reducing inflammation. While the suggested daily intake of these acids is still under research, several studies indicate that to lower blood pressure, people should consume around 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids each day. An excellent source of the beneficial nutrient is salmon, along with other fatty fish like mackerel. 

Related: Secrets for Eating Healthy on a Budget



Opt for spinach, kale, arugula, or spring mix instead of iceberg lettuce next time you make yourself a salad, and don’t stop there. You can sneak spinach into your morning smoothie, add it to a sandwich, or mix it in with scrambled eggs. However you incorporate it into your diet, spinach is a must-have if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure. The superfood is a good source of potassium, fiber, and the antioxidant lutein — all things that can relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Spinach is also magnesium-rich, which has been known to lower blood pressure.



Wong also suggests beets to lower blood pressure, explaining that they are rich in inorganic nitrate, which converts to nitric oxide. As a vasodilator, nitric oxide widens and relaxes blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure and simultaneously improves blood flow. Celery is another food that offers the same benefits — not to mention it’s largely void of calories.

Related: The Surprising Side Effects of Eating Beets

fresh organic yams sweet potatoes garden vegetables farmers marketing

Sweet Potatoes

As the quintessential superfood, it’s no surprise that sweet potatoes are good for hypertension — after all, what aren’t they good for? While the salt content and calories of regular potatoes rise when they are fried, the same does not happen with sweet potatoes, so you can enjoy sweet potato fries guilt-free. Like many of the other foods on this list, sweet potatoes are a good source of both potassium and magnesium and as an added bonus, they are high in fiber, which decreases the risk of heart problems.

Raw and roasted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

As you carve jack o’ lanterns this year, don’t forget to save the pumpkin seeds for roasting. Not only are pumpkin seeds rich in magnesium and potassium, they are also an excellent source of arginine, according to Young. As an amino acid, arginine helps produce nitric oxide to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow.

Related: What to Do With Pumpkin Guts After Carving

A bowl of kiwi fruit slices on wooden table


These brown and furry on the outside, lush and green on the inside fruits offer quite a bit of nutritional value. Because they are rich in lutein — the same antioxidant found in leafy greens, they are ideal for battling hypertension. A small study also revealed that people who ate three kiwi fruits each day experienced lower blood pressure, and while eating 21 kiwi fruits each week might be a bit excessive or unrealistic, it’s certainly not a bad idea to incorporate them into your diet.

Chocolate Chunks

Dark Chocolate

You don’t have to swear off dessert in order to lower your blood pressure. On the contrary, dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, which as you’ve figured out by now, helps relax and widen blood vessels. Wong also says that magnesium is good for strengthening your bones, promoting a healthy digestive system, and it can even help you sleep better, so if you need a reason to satisfy your sweet tooth, there you go!

Related: We Tried 13 Kinds of Chocolate and These Are the Best

Plain oatmeal porridge in bowl


Oatmeal is capable of lowering both your systolic and diastolic pressure (the numbers that make up your blood pressure reading). A study reported in a 2002 edition of “The Journal of Family Practice” found that eating oatmeal can reduce diastolic pressure by 5.5 points and systolic pressure by 7.5 points. Oatmeal has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, contributing to heart health.

Related: 20 Ways to Jazz Up Your Oatmeal

Fresh bananas on wooden background.
Hazal Ak/istockphoto


If you’ve been shouting, “But what about bananas?!” as you keep reading about potassium-rich foods and how they are useful for lowering blood pressure, you can relax now — we didn’t forget about the stalwart potassium source. But potassium isn’t the only benefit bestowed by bananas (how’s that for a tongue twister?). According to Young, bananas are also rich in fiber, which is known for its contributions to heart health.

Related: 27 Things You Didn’t Know About Bananas

group of almonds  from wood bowl on wood background


Whether you enjoy them as a snack, mix them in with your granola, or use them as a salad topping, you’ll find that magnesium-rich almonds are an important nut to include in your diet if you struggle with hypertension. Plus, almonds are a viable source of potassium.

Close Up Photo of Woman Removing Seed from Avocado Half with Spoon


You can reduce your risk of heart attack, lower your cholesterol, and protect your vision by eating avocados. And if that’s not enough of a reason for you to add avocados to your grocery list, new research also shows that the potassium and lutein content of avocados also helps lower your blood pressure.