Start Lowering Your Blood Pressure Naturally with These 10 Foods

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By: Chris Freytag, CPT // November 28, 2023


Around the world, more than a billion people suffer from hypertension (or high blood pressure). Unfortunately, high blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

One of the biggest lifestyle changes to lowering blood pressure is following the right diet. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends the DASH diet for hypertension.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the DASH diet, 10 foods that help lower blood pressure naturally, and which foods can worsen hypertension.

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    The DASH Diet for High Blood Pressure: What Is It?

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    The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains that DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.”

    The DASH diet eating plan includes the following:

    • Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
    • Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
    • Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat (fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils)
    • Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets

    This diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering high blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.

    The following are 10 foods included in the DASH diet that help naturally lower your blood pressure.

    1. Berries

    Freshly picked blueberries in a bowl
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    Strawberries and blueberries are rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. (And out of all the berries, blueberries contain the largest amount of anthocyanins!) Research shows that anthocyanins may help with blood flow and blood pressure regulation.

    Eating about one cup of berries per day has the potential to improve blood vessel function and decrease systolic blood pressure. Sprinkle them onto yogurt, oatmeal, and cereal, or enjoy them by the handful!

    2. Unsweetened Yogurt

    Greek yogurt in a glass jar topped with strawberries.
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    A study out of the University of South Australia found that a daily dose of yogurt may be associated with lower blood pressure—even in small amounts!

    According to Dr. Alexandra Wade, one of the study’s researchers, “This study showed for people with elevated blood pressure, even small amounts of yogurt were associated with lower blood pressure. And for those who consumed yogurt regularly, the results were even stronger, with blood pressure readings nearly seven points lower than those who did not consume yogurt.”

    Here’s why: Dairy products such as yogurt contain calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which are all essential in regulating blood pressure. Yogurt, in particular, also contains bacteria that help release proteins that lower blood pressure.

    3. Leafy Greens

    Person holding a bowl full of raw spinach.
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    Leafy greens are packed with nitrates, which studies show help lower blood pressure.

    Moreover, research suggests that you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by eating at least one cup of leafy green vegetables per day, including kale, collard greens, cabbage, mustard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard.

    Add them as a side dish or mix them into your main meal!

    4. Fatty Fish

    Overhead view of cooked salmon filets  and seasonings on a blue rustic concrete background.
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    The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish per week. The reason? They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids (including EPA and DHA), which may help reduce blood pressure.

    Omega-3 fatty acids also support brain function and memory, reduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular health.

    Fatty fish that contain the most omega-3 fatty acids include:

    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Black cod
    • Bluefin tuna
    • Herring
    • Striped bass
    • Anchovies

    5. Bananas

    A bowl of oatmeal topped with granola and sliced bananas.
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    Bananas contain heart-healthy potassium, an electrolyte that counterbalances sodium. Since high sodium intake can lead to higher blood pressure, potassium is a great way to counteract this.

    The best part? Just one medium-sized banana contains around 422 milligrams of potassium! That said, too many bananas can increase your calorie intake (potentially offsetting their nutritional benefits), so aim for 1-2 per day.

    Other potassium-rich foods include beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocados, chicken, salmon, spinach, and broccoli.

    6. Whole Grains

    A sandwich with hummus, tomatoes, and avocado on whole grain bread.
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    Get this: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating whole grains, such as whole-grain wheat and oats, is as effective as taking medication for high blood pressure.

    The study included over 200 volunteers, and researchers found that eating three portions of whole-grain foods per day reduces your risk of high blood pressure.

    The main benefits of whole-grain foods include:

    • Managing weight, since they can make you feel full longer
    • Increasing your potassium level, which is linked to lower blood pressure
    • Decreasing your risk of insulin resistance
    • Reducing damage to blood vessels

    All of these benefits are essential to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

    7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Pouring olive oil into a small ramekin.
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    According to the American Heart Association, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has a high percentage of monounsaturated fat, which lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol and increases “good” HDL cholesterol and has been shown to lower blood pressure.

    Along with lower blood pressure, research has also found that eating more than half a tablespoon per day lowers premature death rates from cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Just be sure to look for extra virgin olive oil that has been “first-pressed” or “cold-pressed,” meaning it’s a natural product that has undergone a single, simple milling process that hasn’t altered its quality.

    8. Beets

    Young beets on a wooden table.
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    Beets are another food that is high in nitric oxide, which helps lower blood pressure.

    Research has also shown that drinking beetroot juice can help lower your systolic blood pressure (the top number in your blood pressure reading) by 4 to 5 mmHg. This, in turn, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

    9. Sweet Potatoes

    Whole baked sweet potato on a black plate with cheese, spices, and parsley.
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    Sweet potatoes contain potassium and magnesium, which are an essential part of any healthy diet aimed at lowering blood pressure.

    If you’re looking for even more reasons to eat sweet potatoes, they can also help reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss.

    10. Kiwifruit

    Kiwifruit cut in half in a wooden bowl on a wooden background.
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    The American Heart Association shared a study that shows that eating three kiwifruit daily can significantly lower blood pressure. Kiwi contains lutein, an oxycarotenoid that has antioxidant properties and increasing antioxidants may help lower blood pressure.

    Kiwi is great by itself or chopped up and added to yogurt or fruit salad.

    Foods That Can Worsen High Blood Pressure

    A table of pizza, burgers, hot dogs, onion rings, and other junk food.
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    In general, salty foods are the worst option if you have hypertension. The reason? When you eat salt, your body retains more fluids, which raises your blood volume and pressure.

    So, if you struggle with high blood pressure, here are the top foods to cut back on:

    • Processed meats, such as hot dogs, deli meat, bacon, and sausage
    • Restaurant food (most of it is packed with sodium)
    • Salty snacks, such as chips or pretzel sticks
    • Pizza (especially delivery or frozen pizza)
    • Pickles and pickled foods
    • Canned soups and tomato products
    • Condiments like ketchup, soy sauce, and BBQ sauce
    • White bread and rolls

    Avoiding a lot of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat is your best bet for controlling your blood pressure.

    Sugar Detox: How To Quit Sugar In 6 Steps

    A hand reaching for donuts.
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    It’s hard to find the best way to quit sugar when it’s in so many of our foods! That’s why it’s important to cut back in a smart, sustainable way since doing it cold turkey can be pretty jarring for your body.

    Here, we’ll take a look at some of the sugar basics, why you crave it, and how to quit sugar without making yourself totally miserable.

    Sugar Detox: How To Quit Sugar In 6 Steps

    14 Health Benefits of Cucumbers (And a Few Refreshing Recipes)

    cut Cucumbers
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    From healthy skin to improved memory, check out the top 14 health benefits of cucumbers!

    And if you’re lucky enough to have a load from your garden or farmers market on hand, you’ll definitely want to check out some of our favorite cucumber recipes, too.

    14 Health Benefits of Cucumbers (And a Few Refreshing Recipes)

    21 Healthy Quinoa Recipes You’ll Want to Make ASAP

    Quinoa salad with broccoli, sweet potatoes and tomatoes on a rustic wooden table.
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    On the hunt for the best quinoa recipes? We don’t blame you! Quinoa—an edible seed and plant-based protein—is known for being a nutritional powerhouse and easy to incorporate into any meal needing a healthy boost.  

    Check out our favorite quinoa recipes that are so delicious, you’ll forget how healthy they are!

    21 Healthy Quinoa Recipes You’ll Want to Make ASAP



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