High blood pressure can be an almost invisible problem with basically zero signs.
But it’s estimated that 67 million American adults have high blood pressure, that’s a third of all adults. And even worse, only about half of those individuals have their high blood pressure under control.
And one of the biggest factors that contribute to high blood pressure is the diet, the foods we eat directly impact our blood pressure. Eating the right foods for high blood pressure can keep you feeling healthier while the wrong foods can lead to serious problems related to high blood pressure.
We’ve put together a list of foods for high blood pressure you’ll want to avoid to keep your blood pressure as healthy as possible while also including foods for high blood pressure you should be eating to keep your blood pressure healthy.
See our list of the 8 worst foods and the 7 foods you want to eat.
Foods to Avoid: 8 Terrible Foods for High Blood Pressure
Processed meats – Ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs and luncheon meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or any chemical method should be avoided. In just a three-ounce serving, you could be taking in 1,200 mg of sodium. If you’re already suffering with high blood pressure, that should almost be your entire day’s sodium. Find lower sodium versions if possible to reduce the damage of these types of meats.
Frozen pizza – Frozen pizzas are a combination of highly salted foods and that means serious problems for your blood pressure. With the dough, sauce, cheese and processed meats together, an individual serving can include almost 2,400 mg of sodium.
Chinese food – Most people don’t even realize something like Beef with Broccoli can be packed with as much as 3,700 mg of sodium. By cooking with soy sauce and teriyaki sauce the sodium content adds up quickly.
Ready-to-eat boxed foods – While ready-to-eat meals and side dishes are convenient, they’re also loaded with sodium. A single serving of frozen turkey and gravy or a chicken potpie can include as much as 800 mg of sodium.
Sugar-sweetened drinks – Excess sugar isn’t discussed as much as sodium when it comes to blood pressure, but also has been linked to high blood pressure. Soft drinks, iced tea and even fruit juices come with a lot of sugar and it’s best to avoid all that added sugar whether you have high blood pressure or not.
Canned and pickled vegetables – When you need a substitute for fresh vegetables, canned might not be the best option. Canned and pickled vegetables are often laden with preservatives or sauces that contain high amounts of preservatives or sauces. If you are going the canned or pickled route, look for items with no salted added or reduced sodium and be sure to look at the sodium content before you buy them.
Canned and instant soup – Canned soup is one of the worst kinds of foods for your blood pressure. Canned chicken noodle soup contains as much as 760 mg of sodium in a single cup. If you’re eating a whole can – a two-and-a-half serving can – that’s 1,800 mg of sodium.
Canned Tomato Products – Canned tomato sauce and tomato juice can have 680 mg of sodium in a cup while spaghetti sauce has more than 1,300 milligrams of sodium in a serving.
Foods to Eat: 7 Foods for High Blood Pressure You Should Eat
Leafy Greens – By improving your ratio of potassium to sodium, you can begin to lower your blood pressure. Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens and spinach are high in potassium. Choosing fresh is your best option.
Berries – Berries are rich in natural flavonoids. Flavonoids have been shown to help prevent hypertension and have been shown to help reduce high blood pressure. You can easily add blueberries, strawberries or raspberries to your diet by including them in your cereal or blending them into smoothies or by simply eating a handful for dessert.
Potatoes – Potatoes are another food high in potassium, and they’re also high in magnesium. Both minerals help lower your blood pressure. Potatoes are also high in fiber. But don’t add fattening and salty butter, or you may do more damage than good. Instead, add plain yogurt or salsa for additional flavor.
Beets – Studies indicate drinking beetroot juice can improve blood pressure. The nitrates in the juice are believed to add the most benefit and helped users reduce their blood pressure in just 24 hours. Juice beets yourself or eat the whole root for to get the benefits.
Skim Milk – Calcium-rich foods are recommended for anyone trying to lower their blood pressure. Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and it’s low in fat.
Oatmeal – Oatmeal is high in fiber, low in fat and low in sodium that makes it one of the best foods if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure. To make it taste great, avoid adding additional sugar but opt for fruit and a small amount of honey.
Bananas – When most people think of foods high in potassium, bananas come to mind. Bananas can be sliced into your breakfast or eaten as is to get the potassium that will help lower your blood pressure.