Foods That Improve/Prevent High Blood Pressure

When people think about dietary changes to improve blood pressure, the first, and often the only thing that comes to mind is reducing sodium (salt) intakes.  While reducing sodium intakes to the recommended level (~1,500-2,400 mg/day) does play a major role in improving blood pressure, there are other dietary changes that often get overlooked.  So today, I will focus on which foods to include to lower blood pressure instead of focusing on what to avoid.

Calcium, magnesium and potassium all play a big role in regulating blood pressure.  There is very strong evidence that a diet rich in these nutrients can help to lower blood pressure, while a diet low in these nutrients may increase your risk of developing hypertension.  For this reason, it is recommended that individuals consume 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy per day, and eat more fruits and vegetables (a lot more!).  In fact, the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertention) developed by the National Institute of Health recommends have a minimum of 4 servings of fruit and 4 servings of vegetables per day.

The following chart lists foods that are good sources of calcium, magnesium and potassium, and they are highly recommended to help improve blood pressure:

Apples Asparagus Avocado
Bananas Beans Beets
Brussel Sprouts Cabbage Cantaloupe
Corn Cottage Cheese Eggplant
Fish Grapefruit Honeydew Melon
Kiwi Lima Beans Milk (skim)
Mushroom Nectarine Oranges
Pears Peas (Green) Prunes
Potatoes Raisins Salmon
Spinach Squash Sweet Potato
Tomato Turnip Greens Watermelon
Yogurt (non-fat)

For more information about how to lower blood pressure with the DASH diet, click here.