High blood pressure is the most common preventable risk factor for heart disease. Over 1 billion people around the world have high blood pressure (1).
Medications are commonly used to reduce blood pressure levels. However, lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications, can help lower blood pressure levels to optimal ranges and reduce your risk of heart disease. Research has shown that including certain foods in your diet, especially those high in specific nutrients like potassium and magnesium, reduces your blood pressure levels (2). Getting your nutrients in the form of whole foods such as those described below is important for your overall health, rather than taking them as supplements or vitamins in pill form, due to the additives in those manufactured products that can also contribute to high blood pressure.
Here are the best foods for high blood pressure.
Citrus fruits – Citrus fruits, including grapefruit, oranges, and lemons, may have powerful blood-pressure-lowering effects. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that may help keep your heart healthy by reducing heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure (3).
Salmon and other fatty fish – Fatty fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which have significant heart health benefits. These fats may help reduce blood pressure levels by reducing inflammation and decreasing levels of blood-vessel-constricting compounds called oxylipins (4).
Pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin seeds are a concentrated source of nutrients important for blood pressure control, including magnesium, potassium, and arginine, an amino acid needed for the production of nitric oxide, which is essential for blood vessel relaxation and blood pressure reduction (5).
Beans and lentils – Beans and lentils are rich in nutrients that help regulate blood pressure, such as fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Numerous studies have shown that eating beans and lentils may help lower high blood pressure levels.
Berries – Berries are a rich source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which are pigments that give berries their vibrant color. Anthocyanins have been shown to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood and reduce the production of blood-vessel-restricting molecules, which may help reduce blood pressure levels (6).
Pistachios – Pistachios are highly nutritious, and their consumption has been linked to healthy blood pressure levels. They’re high in a number of nutrients essential for heart health and blood pressure regulation, including potassium (7).
Carrots – Carrots are a staple veggie in many people’s diets. Carrots are high in phenolic compounds, such as chlorogenic, p-coumaric, and caffeic acids, that help relax blood vessels and reduce inflammation, which may help lower blood pressure levels. Although carrots can be enjoyed cooked or raw, eating them raw may be more beneficial for reducing high blood pressure (8).
Broccoli – Broccoli is loaded with flavonoid antioxidants, which may help lower blood pressure by enhancing blood vessel function and increasing nitric oxide levels in your body (9).
Along with other lifestyle modifications, adopting a healthy diet can significantly lower blood pressure levels and help reduce your heart disease risk. If you have high blood pressure levels or are looking to maintain healthy blood pressure, adding a few of the foods to your diet may help.