Best Foods to Lower Blood Pressure

By Emma Caplan-Fisher

If your blood pressure is elevated regularly or you've been diagnosed with hypertension, it's important to take steps to achieve an optimal blood pressure range for better health. Part of this means maintaining a healthy diet with the best foods to lower blood pressure.

Keep reading to learn more about blood pressure and what causes it to spike, along with the foods you can eat to help lower blood pressure naturally and those to avoid if you're dealing with high blood pressure. Finally, we'll offer ideas on other things you can do to help lower your blood pressure.

What does blood pressure mean?

Think of blood pressure as the amount or measurement of force — or pressure — your heart uses with each pump to get blood through your arteries. Your arteries, in turn, deliver nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and cells, which helps your body function properly.

What causes high blood pressure?

While there isn't a certain, single cause of high blood pressure or hypertension, a few things can usually cause it. These include family history and genetics, a sedentary lifestyle lacking exercise, and a high-sodium, low-fruit-and-vegetable diet.

Foods that help lower blood pressure naturally

No specific food alone can lower blood pressure, but maintaining a diet rich in certain nutrients can help lower or maintain healthy blood pressure. The list below contains foods that lower blood pressure over time. Look for items with plenty of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as these nutrients may help to lower blood pressure.


Bananas are rich in potassium, which may help to remove sodium, relax blood vessels, and lower blood pressure.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruit*, and lemons, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that can reduce heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure.

*Consult with your healthcare professional before consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice, as it can interfere with common medications prescribed for lowering blood pressure.

Dark leafy greens

Greens like spinach, cabbage, swiss chard, and kale are rich in potassium and magnesium, which support optimal blood pressure levels, along with the plant-based compound nitrate, which may lower blood pressure.

Whole grains

Whole grains, like whole oats, amaranth, quinoa, and brown rice, are rich in the fiber beta-glucan and magnesium, both of which may help to lower blood pressure.


Yogurt is rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which may help to lower blood pressure. Be sure to avoid sweetened yogurt, which can contain a lot of added sugar — something those with hypertension should limit as it's been linked to blood pressure.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds, are rich in fiber and arginine, an amino acid needed to create nitric oxide which is an essential compound to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

Healthy snacks

If you're craving something between meals, you might be wondering what makes a healthy snack but will still be satisfying. Good question! When it comes to healthy sweets alternatives, there are more options than you might think.

You can easily combine yogurt and bananas with nuts or seeds to make a tasty, hypertension-friendly snack. Not your jam? There are many other low glycemic snack foods to try. Or, oat bars as a healthy snack option are quick and easy especially when you're on the go.

Foods to avoid with high blood pressure

If you're dealing with high blood pressure, it's a good idea to cut back on or totally avoid foods with high amounts of:

  • Salt or sodium (the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg daily), as it adversely impacts fluids in our blood.
  • Trans or saturated fats, as they're not good for the heart and can raise cholesterol.
  • Added sugars, as they can lead to weight gain or obesity which can impact blood pressure.

Here's a list of foods to avoid with high blood pressure.

Butter, full-fat dairy

Butter and full-fat dairy (like milk and cream) contain saturated fat, which isn't healthy for the heart.

Fatty and processed meats

Fatty and processed meats (like certain lunch meats, sausages, or hot dogs) often contain high amounts of saturated fat and sodium.

Salted snacks

Salted snacks (like chips and pretzels) often contain high amounts of saturated fat and sodium.

Canned soups and vegetables and other processed foods

Canned soups and vegetables are high in sodium, as are many other processed foods (like dried soup, rice, and pasta mixes).

Pickled food in brine

Pickles and other foods in brine require a lot of sodium to keep them fresher for longer (though you can get reduced sodium versions).


Not only is there a connection between lowered blood pressure and consuming less alcohol, but limiting or avoiding alcohol can help prevent high blood pressure.*

*Alcohol can interfere with some blood pressure medications, so be sure to consult with your healthcare professional if you plan to drink any alcohol while experiencing high blood pressure.

Other actions that can lower blood pressure

Aside from your eating habits, there are other lifestyle changes you can make to achieve lower blood pressure.

Exercise regularly

Whether it's a brisk walk or another type of cardio exercise, aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Strength training two to three days per week can also help to lower blood pressure in those with hypertension.

Stay hydrated

Drinking water won’t immediately lower your blood pressure, but consistent hydration is key to supporting an optimal blood pressure range.

Sleep well

Getting less than six hours of sleep each night can add to hypertension, so it's important to get consistent, quality rest. Follow a sleep schedule, create a relaxing, calm space, and limit screen time from at least one hour before bed. Relaxation exercises and a warm bath could also help you get a better night's sleep.

Limit stress

Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure, so it's important to do what you can to lower the stress in your life. Try rearranging your schedule to accommodate only what needs doing each day. Give yourself more time to get things done whenever possible. Learn how to say no, and remove any activities (or people) who add stress to your life. Meditate daily to clear your head.

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