Heart Disease

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Best Foods for Blood Pressure


Give your blood pressure a little TLC with these eats

By Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN

You’ve probably heard the age-old axiom, “You are what you eat.” When it comes to high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), there’s a lot of truth to that saying. Your food choices have the power to either lower or raise your risk for hypertension — a condition that can, in turn, raise your risk for heart disease and heart attacks.

When eating for your blood pressure, what you choose to eat is just as important as the foods you should avoid. If you have hypertension or are at risk for it, here are three­ food types to focus on.


1. Do-Good Dairy


Researchers studied the diets of nearly 5,000 people, and found that those who ate two or more servings of low-fat dairy products had lower blood pressure than those who did not. So, when you’re looking for a snack, try low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt or even a glass of skim milk — it’s a great way to get a little extra dairy in your diet. Need to satisfy that sweet tooth? Try adding some fruit (like chopped peaches or cantaloupe, or a sprinkle of berries) to your low-fat dairy snack.

2. Heart-Healthy Herbs and Spices

Herbs — MedHelp

For a flavor boost, you might add a dash of salt to your dish. But Americans consume way more sodium than we need, according to the National Institutes of Health. Excess salt can lead to fluid retention, which can also spike your blood pressure. The next time you find yourself reaching for the saltshaker, think of fresh or dried herbs and spices instead. Use them to bring new and interesting flavors to your palate: add some basil leaves to your salad, chopped thyme to your marinated chicken breasts, sprinkle dried sage in your soup, or toss dried oregano with your pasta!

3. Potassium-Packed Produce

Produce — MedHelp

Pumping your diet full of produce not only helps to keep your waistline trim — it works wonders in the fight to lower your blood pressure, too. Specifically, fruits and veggies that are packed with potassium — like sweet potatoes (mashed or baked), spinach, lima beans, bananas, tomatoes and oranges (and orange juice!) — may counter the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium, according to the American Heart Association.


Published on September 15, 2016. 


Rachel Meltzer Warren is a NYC-area based nutrition writer, educator, and counselor, and the author of The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian.


Reviewed by Shira Goldenholz, MD, MPH on August 19, 2016.
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