High Blood Pressure? Food Could Be Part of Your Solution

Woman eating foods that lower blood pressure

The number of Americans who suffer from high blood pressure, aka hypertension, recently increased by nearly 30 million people in just one day. What happened? Experts lowered the threshold for diagnosing it

Previously, you were considered hypertensive if your numbers were above 140/80 mm Hg, but according to the new guidelines released by The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, a blood pressure above 130/80 mm Hg is now considered to be “stage 1 hypertension.” This means nearly half of all American adults now have high blood pressure, compared to 1 in 3 as was previously thought. While this new standard isn’t a cause for alarm, it is a good opportunity to see your doctor, slip that cuff back onto your arm, and get rechecked.

If you do have high blood pressure, here’s the good news: There’s a lot you can do about it, including not smoking, losing weight if you’re overweight, being physically active, and—most importantly—following a healthy eating pattern.

Below, five ways to eat to improve your blood pressure, plus a day’s worth of recipes so you can hit the ground running.

How to Build a Blood-Pressure Friendly Diet

Step 1: Adopt a healthy eating pattern. In particular, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet has been shown to be as effective, if not more, than prescription medications in decreasing blood pressure. It’s a mostly plant-based diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, and low in refined grains, sugar, salt, and red meat, that delivers high levels of fiber and the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Step 2: Eat less sodium. Even if your diet is already generally healthy, eating too much sodium can put you at risk for hypertension. If you already have high blood pressure, eating fewer salty foods is an essential dietary change.

Step 3: Eat more potassium. Potassium is a super nutrient when it comes to lowering blood pressure, because it can balance out the harmful effects of salt. If you’re not following the DASH diet, make sure potassium-rich foods, such as fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy, fish, nuts, and soy products, are a regular part of your daily fare.

Step 4: Drink less alcohol. Ideally, you want to aim for no more than two alcoholic drinks per day if you’re a man, and one drink per day if you’re a woman. Typically, one standard drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1½ ounces of distilled spirits.

Step 5: Keep your gut healthy and happy. Emerging research shows the bugs in your belly may play a role in beating high blood pressure. Stock up on plenty of pre- and probiotic foods and drinks, like yogurt and high-fiber veggies, to get the balance of “good” and “bad” microorganisms in your gut right.

Your First Day of Meals and Snacks

Wondering exactly how to put these tips into practice? Here’s a day’s worth of delicious, heart-healthy recipes.

Breakfast: Veggie Breakfast Burrito

Mid-morning snack: Gingery Kale SmoothieGreen smoothie recipe

Lunch: Turkey Club Wrap + AppleSandwich or salad? That's a wrap!

Snack: Banana + Nut ButterHealthy snack with banana and peanut butter

Dinner: “Creamy” Chicken Pasta PrimaveraHealthy Recipe: “Creamy” Pasta Primavera with Chicken & Asparagus

Snack: Berries + YogurtYogurt with berries

Nutrition facts: 2,000 calories, 25% (126 g) protein, 50% (251 g) carbs, 45 g fiber, 95 g total sugars, 4 g added sugars, 29% (65 g) total Fat, 9% (20g) saturated fat, 1166 mg calcium, 4498 mg potassium, 1770 mg sodium, 498 mg magnesium.

11 Comments   Join the Conversation

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • My uncle recently had a stroke. One reason that triggers stroke is a high blood pressure. So I advised him to eat good food like this one in your article. I will surely share this to him. I also advise him to practice Pilates.
    Thanks for this great article.

  • Hey has im a Executive Chef my daughter Petrina gave me a fitbit since then i have lost 8 kg … avg 15000 steps a day i love it so much …..food is to me love a love to please people .. i fined it hard to loose my tummy cause i work when you all play
    my reason why i can not loose more weight & blood pressure cause i eat when i finished work after you all play and have fun
    Can fitbit fix this for me

  • I am a Chinese, 50 aged and living in Hong Kong, my blood pressure over 135/95 mm Hg, I would like the dinner evening over 20:30 and go to bed at around 01:00. I everyday dosage in pill for lower pressure. In my case, would you let me know is it success for deduct blood pressure ? If not, how can I do to improve. Thanks

  • Awesome recommendations and Im practicing many with tremendous health related results.
    Im reading a good nutritional recommendation book that others may wish to read and learn additional advice on healthy living; “The Plant Paradox”, by Steven R Guidry, MD. Ive read 16-18 similiar books over past 8 months and this one is adding new info that Im now practicing with notable results.

  • I live very rural, very but would like to begin Pilates can you suggest a beginning CD or someone to stream?

  • Do diets high in protein have a real benefit to losing weight. Are there other benefits of a diet high in protein.

  • We are a vegan family, I was wondering if you have healthy meal plans for vegans? We really don’t have medical issues but I do think we are a little overweight. Thank you

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