What foods are good for high blood pressure?

Foods that are good for high blood pressure include: whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts which are low in fats and sugars.
Foods that are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat and that emphasize fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products are good for high blood pressure. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been shown in research to be effective for lowering blood pressure. Reducing your sodium intake (the DASH diet recommends between 1500 and 2300mg of sodium/day) and following the DASH diet plan or the Heart Healthy plan found in the free Sharecare Fitness Application, will assist in lowering your blood pressure. Potassium containing foods are important in offsetting the negative effects of sodium on blood pressure. Foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium are below.
Examples of foods low in sodium
  • All unprocessed meats, fish, and poultry
  • Cheeses: cream, Monterey, Mozzarella, Ricotta, low salt types
  • Pasta: macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, rice
  • Eggs
Examples of foods high in potassium
  • Broccoli, carrots, collards, green beans, green, peas, kale, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes

According a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, most Americans are falling short of their daily potassium needs, which could be wreaking havoc with their blood pressure. While losing excess weight, reducing sodium in the diet, and being physically active all can reduce blood pressure, so can consuming adequate amounts of potassium-rich foods.

Research suggests that a diet plentiful in potassium lowers blood pressure, especially in salt-sensitive individuals who respond more intensely to sodium’s blood pressure–raising capabilities. Potassium helps negate some of the blood pressure-raising effects of excessive dietary sodium as it causes the kidneys to excrete excess sodium from the body. Reducing sodium levels in the body helps lower blood pressure.

The good news is that potassium is found in a variety of foods, with vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy foods, and beans being potassium powerhouses:

  • Potato, baked including skin, 738 mg
  • White beans, ½ cup, 595 mg
  • Yogurt, nonfat, plain, 579 mg
  • Sweet Potato, baked with skin, medium, 542 mg
  • Orange juice, 1 cup, 496 mg
  • Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces, 490 mg
  • Soybeans, cooked, ½ cup, 485 mg
  • Cod, cooked, 3 ounces, 439 mg
  • Banana, 1 medium, 422 mg
  • Spinach, cooked, ½ cup, 370-419 mg
  • Tomato sauce, ½ cup, 405 mg
  • Milk, skim, 1 cup, 382 mg
  • Apricots, dried, ¼ cup, 378 mg
  • Soy milk, 1 cup, 372 mg
  • Kidney beans, cooked, ½ cup, 358 mg

Here’s some easy ways to pump up your daily potassium:

  • Pour an 8-ounce glass of orange juice at breakfast.
  • Add leafy greens to your sandwiches. Spinach is a potassium dynamo!
  • Add dried apricots to yogurt for a one, two (apricots and dairy) potassium punch.
  • Have bean soup with your lunchtime sandwich.
  • Baked regular or sweet potatoes are potassium powerhouses on your dinner plate

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.