Living with high blood pressure is a reality for more than 80 million adults living in the United States. There are many ways to control your blood pressure, and adopting a diet that’s more conducive to a healthy heart is taking the right approach.
Here are some of the best foods you can eat to lower blood pressure, as well as which foods you should avoid.
Foods to Consume to Lower Blood Pressure
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in sodium, one of the reasons high-blood pressure is so common in America.
Extra sodium in your bloodstream can pull water into your blood vessels, which increases the total volume of blood inside your blood vessels, and causes blood pressure to increase.
While all nutrients are important, potassium is important in managing blood pressure because it lessens the effects of sodium — the more potassium you take in, the more sodium you lose through urine. Additionally, a high intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium can ease tension in the blood vessel walls, which helps lower blood pressure.
Examples of heart-healthy foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium include:
- Dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach
- Fruit like bananas, watermelon, apricots, and berries
- Seeds, nuts, and beans
- Avocados and tofu
- Food high in omega-3 fatty acids
The American Heart Association also recommends cutting back on saturated and trans fats. In general, try to reduce your consumption of pre-packaged, processed, and prepared foods. And watch out for foods that add salt to your diet, including:
- Canned soup or other canned goods
- Processed Meats
- Frozen dinners
- Foods high in salt content
Changing your eating habits is one of the best ways to take control of your blood pressure levels and start lowering them. Focus on foods that are high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium.