Your heart health is important and food will impact your blood pressure.
Here are 20 foods you can eat to help keep your blood pressure low and reduce hypertension without medications.
Leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula Swiss chard, collard greens, turnip greens, beet greens): High in potassium and very low in salt, dark leafy greens are full of nutrients that are great for your body. These will help your kidneys function at peak performance, pulling more sodium out of your body to be removed through urine. Always buy your greens fresh and then you can eat them raw or cooked. Frozen greens are better than canned greens, which typically have added sodium for a preservative. Try adding some spinach to your stir fry, soups and pizza.
Berries (raspberries, blackberries, elderberries, cranberries, acai berries, blueberries): Rich in flavonoid, berries can prevent hypertension and lower your blood pressure. Many have a great flavor with plenty of fiber and without a lot of calories or sugar. Add these to oatmeal, granola, smoothies or eat them fresh.
Beets: The whole plant is great for you, but while the greens are high in potassium, the vibrant root is chalk full of nitric oxide. This food will help reduce your blood pressure by opening your blood vessels and reducing inflammation. You can juice beets or cut them up into chunks to be cooked in stir fry, roasted or added to stews. Like potatoes, beets take a bit longer to cook than some vegetables because they are dense and very firm.
Nuts (pistachios, cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts): Choose only raw or roasted nuts that are free of salt and added sugar, or you will do more harm than good. Magnesium in nuts can help lower your blood pressure. They are full of healthy fats and will help you stay full longer.
Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, squash): Again, only choose unsalted raw or roasted seeds to avoid spiking your sodium levels. High in potassium, magnesium and other nutrients effective in lowering your blood pressure, seeds will also provide extra fiber and protein to help you stay full longer.
Pomegranates: These funky fruits are delicious and good for lowering blood pressure. You can juice them or eat them raw. Watch out when buying store bought juice, since they often add sugar or sodium.
Low fat dairy (skim milk, yogurt, cottage cheese): Choose dairy sources that are low in fat and added sodium (watch the block cheeses here). You can reduce your blood pressure with dairy that is full of calcium, but look for options that aren’t loaded with salt or sugar. Add berries, granola and chia seeds to yogurt.
Oatmeal: Easy to add berries and low fat milk to this staple breakfast food. Oatmeal is high fiber, low-sodium and low fat. Add in a little honey if you need some added sweetness, but avoid any pre packaged “flavored” oatmeal packets because they are full of added sugars and sodium.
Hummus: Full of protein and fiber, hummus is a great dip for many veggies. You can make your own with olive oil, chickpeas, tahini and a few other flavoring ingredients. If you buy it premade, just look for options that stay low in added salt, carbs and fat.
Beans (green, lima, black, white, navy, kidney and pinto): Great for lowering blood pressure since beans are full of magnesium, potassium and fiber. Start with raw or dried before cooking to taste, instead of canned beans that will be high in sodium.
Bananas: Potassium is great for your kidney and bananas are full of it! You can eat bananas raw, or slice them into your granola and oatmeal. Bananas are amazing for making creamy smoothies and play nice with most other ingredients (try blending banana, spinach, low fat milk and frozen strawberries!).
Eggs: Boiled eggs are a very fast snack option that are full of potassium, healthy fats and low in sodium. Boil several at a time to have on hand. Always add a tablespoon of vinegar or salt to your boiling water before adding your eggs to make the shells easier to peel off. Eggs can also be added to sandwiches, stir fry rice and more to help you be filled with foods supporting a lower blood pressure.
Fish (salmon, trout, catfish, mackerel, tuna): A great source of protein and healthy omega-3 fats, fish should become a staple main course option for your low blood pressure diet. They will lower your blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Try simple seasonings (salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil) before baking your fish at 450°F for 15 minutes, until flaky when you insert a fork.
Chicken: Protein and low fat in chicken makes it a great food for a heart healthy diet. Chicken bones can be boiled in water to make bone broth, which also lowers your blood pressure. Make homemade bone broth and chicken into a soup, adding carrots, garlic and other vegetables can be one of the best options for a heart healthy meal that is satisfying and delicious.
Vinegar: This is a tough one for many people, but three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar each morning can normalize your blood pressure, showing significant change within a week. Also, use vinegar for salad dressing and for marinating all meats.
Garlic and herbs: Herbs and spices have important health benefits, but they will also help you cut down on your use of salt. Garlic will increase flavor while reducing hypertension with oxide.
Olive oil: A healthy fat that is full of polyphenols that are helpful in reducing inflammation and blood pressure. You can use olive oil for cooking, sauces, and making a heart healthy salad dressing.
Dark chocolate: Don’t go overboard here, but cocoa is actually helpful in reducing cardiovascular disease. Dark chocolate has far less sugar added than other kinds of chocolate, with 60% cocoa and up. Try adding very dark chocolate to yogurt, granola or with fruits.
Red wine (cab, merlot, pinot noir): Again, don’t go overboard, but red wines that are low in sugar contain antioxidants and are thought to be good for your heart. The key is to drink in moderation and it isn’t recommended to use as an actual “heart fix.” Like dark chocolate, red wine should be considered more of an occasional treat to help you relax. Cooking with red wine can offer a deep flavor boost without adding sodium or sugar. Avoid alcohol if you or your family has a history of addiction.
Chocolate Daily Superfoods Shake: We designed this Daily Superfoods Shake to help you meet a healthy diet and it is full of many of the foods on this list! Beet root, ginger, goji berries, dandelion root, acai berries, aloe vera, spinach, kale, coconut water and collard greens are just a few of the foods we have packed into this blend to support a heart healthy diet. But, best of all, this shake tastes great and is a fast meal replacement that will help you lower your blood pressure.