39 Best (And 5 Worst) Foods for Avoiding High Blood Pressure

Doctor measures blood pressure of a patient on a table laid out with green leafy vegetables

High blood pressure or hypertension is a common lifestyle disease among the millennial population. Over 1 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure issues or have faced high blood pressure issues sometime in life (source). Simple lifestyle changes and dietary modifications can help you control your blood pressure and lead a healthy life.

Track What You Eat in a Day

Among the most actionable advice a hypertension patient can receive is tracking what they eat daily. Sometimes, it is difficult to remember how many calories we eat in a day and which essential nutrients we include in our daily diet. Therefore, hypertension patients should note their daily food habits and find room for improvement. For example, cutting back on excessive calories, reducing portion sizes, and including nutrients like potassium and magnesium in your daily diet can help control blood pressure.

Know What to Eat

Making conscious food choices is vital for everyone. Knowing which foods are the best for us and consciously creating a balanced diet daily can improve our health and lifestyle. The same applies to those with high blood pressure. Here is a look at the essential foods for hypertension –

Best Foods to Eat for Controlling High Blood Pressure


  1. Citrus Fruit

    Citrus fruits are a potent food for high blood pressure. Eating 500 to 600 grams of citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, and grapefruit helps manage blood pressure in the human body.

  2. Kiwi

    The kiwi fruit is exceptionally high in Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Their high antioxidant content also benefits those at a high risk of heart disease. Eating kiwi regularly for years has been proven to help hypertension patients manage their blood pressure.

  3. Berries

    Among the various beneficial antioxidants in berries, anthocyanins are beneficial for regulating blood pressure. Anthocyanins increase the nitric oxide levels in the blood to remove particles that may restrict blood flow and increase blood pressure.

  4. Bananas

    Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps process sodium in your body and remove any excess sodium that may raise your blood pressure. Eating bananas daily can help relax your blood vessels and reduce sodium content in the blood to reduce blood pressure.

  5. Pomegranates

    Eating or drinking pomegranate juice can significantly reduce diastolic blood pressure among hypertension patients. Do not choose pomegranate juice with added sugar; have homemade pomegranate juice or eat a cup of pomegranate kernels.

  6. Apples

    Research has found that eating one whole apple per day can reduce the risk of hypertension by 9%. Apples also help reduce cholesterol and inflammation to alleviate the risk of heart disease.


Nuts and seeds are a concentrated source of essential nutrition. Including some nuts or seeds in your dash diet food list is beneficial, especially if you have high blood pressure. Some popular nuts and seeds are –

  1. Pumpkin seeds

  2. Flax seeds

  3. Pistachios

  4. Chia seeds

  5. Almonds

  6. Walnuts


Fatty fish contain omega-3 and other essential nutrients like proteins and amino acids. They can help reduce blood pressure levels by reducing inflammation and improving long-term heart health. Here is a look at some healthy varieties of fish –

  1. Salmon

    Eating 4 to 5 ounces of salmon regularly for a few weeks can reduce systolic blood pressure.

  2. Sardines

    One cup of canned Atlantic sardines can give you 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, sardines also contain potassium, magnesium, and zinc. All these nutrients are essential for reducing blood pressure.


  1. Leafy Greens

    Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are among the best foods to eat for high blood pressure. One cup of cooked Swiss chard can fulfill 20% of your daily potassium and 35% of your daily magnesium needs. Spinach and Swiss chard are high-nitrate leafy greens that can help reduce blood pressure with regular consumption.

  2. Carrots

    Carrots are among the staple foods for blood pressure. They are rich in plant-based compounds that are proven to help lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

  3. Beetroot

    Beetroot is another essential vegetable in the high-nitrate category. Consuming raw beetroot or beetroot juice improves blood flow and heart health. Experts recommend consuming beetroot juice every day for two weeks to get sustained results.

  4. Legumes

    Legumes are an essential protein source for those who believe in a plant-based diet. Even if you are not plant-based, daily legumes can offer crucial nutrients like potassium and magnesium. Add legumes like lentils, beans, and peas to your daily diet.

  5. Potatoes

    Among vegetables, potatoes have the highest potassium content. One baked potato fulfills up to 20% of your daily potassium needs. Eating baked, boiled, or pan-heated potatoes daily can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

  6. Tomatoes and Tomato Products

    Tomatoes are rich in potassium and lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that is beneficial for heart health and helpful in reducing blood pressure.

  7. Broccoli

    This cruciferous vegetable is an important source of flavonoid antioxidants that enhance blood vessel functions and improve blood pressure. Broccoli also contains several minerals and vitamins beneficial to overall health.

  8. Ginger

    Research has proven that adding ginger supplements up to 3 grams per meal can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults younger than 50 (source). A small amount of ginger in regular meals can make a significant difference in the long term.

  9. Garlic

    Garlic can help improve blood flow to improve various conditions, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and stiffness from arthritis. In small quantities, adding kyolic-aged garlic extract to your diet can help improve hypertension.


  1. Amaranth

    Whole grains like amaranth, which are rich in fiber, potassium, and magnesium, can help improve blood pressure. If you don’t wish to eat amaranth, you can opt for other whole grains such as whole oats, quinoa, brown rice, corn, whole-grain bread, and whole-wheat pasta.


Various herbs and spices contain potent plant-based compounds that relax the blood vessels and improve blood pressure. Some essential herbs and spices which are deemed to be good foods for high blood pressure are –

  1. Cilantro

  2. Saffron

  3. Oregano

  4. Lemongrass

  5. Black pepper

  6. Celery seeds

  7. Basil

  8. Cinnamon

  9. Cardamom

  10. Chili powder


  1. Olive Oil

    Recent research has proven that oil from the fruit of the olive tree contains potent plant compounds such as omega-9 oleic acid and antioxidant polyphenols (source). It can help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

  2. Eggs

    Eggs are nutrient-rich and vital for creating a balanced diet, especially if you have hypertension. Recent research in the USA has proven that adults who ate five eggs per week had lower SBP levels than those who consumed less than half an egg per week (source). Eating eggs regularly also reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure in the long term.

  3. Yogurt

    Yoghurt is a nutrient-dense dairy product that tops the list of best foods for high blood pressure. Research suggests that increasing your yogurt consumption by one level can significantly lower your SBP level. For example, if you have high blood pressure, try eating yogurt five or six times per week instead of two or three times.

  4. Lean Meats

    Any meat variety with less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95mg of cholesterol per 100 grams of meat is lean meat. Some popular varieties of lean meat include – Skinless chicken breast Beef sirloin Pork tenderloin 93% lean ground turkey

  5. Dark Chocolate

    Chocolate is a surprise element on this list, but dark chocolate is good for high blood pressure. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids and can help with hypertension. However, if dark chocolate contains large quantities of sugar and fat, it may counter the effects of the flavonoids.

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Foods to Avoid for High Blood Pressure

If you have hypertension, avoid the foods listed below. The following foods are bad for high blood pressure –

  • Salt

    Sodium raises blood pressure in the human body and can harm those with high blood pressure. Salt is made of sodium and is a catalyst for raising blood pressure levels. The less salt you eat, the better it is for your high blood pressure. It is recommended that those with hypertension should not consume more than 1500mg of salt per day. That amounts to less than one teaspoon daily for all your meals and snacks.

  • Caffeine

    Moderate consumption of coffee and tea is good for heart health. However, excessive caffeine can increase blood pressure and create complications for those with hypertension. High consumption of caffeine is proven to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease – especially for those who have hypertension.

  • Alcohol

    Regularly consuming alcohol can increase the risk of high blood pressure. The AHA recommends two drinks per day for males and one drink per day for females as the safe limit for alcohol consumption. If you have high blood pressure, excessive alcohol consumption can increase your blood pressure and put you at risk of heart ailments.

  • Processed Foods

    Processed foods, including potato chips, cookies, candies, and fizzy drinks, contain large quantities of salt and can be harmful to high blood pressure. If you have hypertension, it is advisable to avoid processed foods.

  • Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Trans Fats)

    Trans fats are directly linked to heart disease and insulin resistance. If you are overweight, have diabetes, or have hypertension, consuming trans fats can be very harmful to your health. Always check the ingredients listed on the food packaging; if it has partially hydrogenated oil, it contains trans fats. Avoid consuming food with partially hydrogenated oil or trans fats.

What is a DASH Diet?

A DASH diet is a short form of dietary approach to stop hypertension. It is a diet plan that includes several fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, poultry, nuts, and low-fat dairy. The DASH plan ensures that people with high blood pressure eat a balanced diet with key nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and proteins. By cutting out desserts, processed foods, trans fats, sweetened beverages, and red meat, the DASH diet helps lower blood pressure and improve overall health. The DASH diet has proven helpful in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke and reducing blood pressure. Here is a look at the typical DASH diet meal plan –

  • Whole Grains – 7-8 servings per day (one serving equals one slice of bread or ½ cup of cooked rice)
  • Vegetables – 4-5 servings per day (one serving equals one cup of raw leafy greens or ½ cup cooked vegetables)
  • Fruits – 4-5 servings per day (1 piece of fruit, 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, ¼ cup dried fruit, 6 ounces of fruit juice)
  • Dairy Products – 2-3 daily servings of low-fat dairy products (one serving equals 8 ounces of milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1.5 ounces cheese)
  • Lean Meat, Poultry, and Fish – 2 servings per day or less (one serving is 3 ounces of cooked meat, poultry, or fish)
  • Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes – 4-5 servings per week (one serving equals 1/3 cup nuts, 2 tablespoons seeds, ½ cup of cooked legumes)
  • Fats and Oils – 2-3 daily servings (one serving is equal to 1 tsp vegetable oil or butter, 1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise, 2 tbsp light salad dressing)
  • Sweets – Less than 5 servings per week (one serving is equal to 1 tbsp of jam, sugar, or jelly)

What Else Can I Do to Lower My Blood Pressure?

Apart from changing your diet and using the DASH diet meal plans, here are some things you can do to lower your blood pressure –

  • Quit smoking
  • Reach or maintain a moderate body weight
  • Regular exercise
  • Reduce stress with breathing exercises or meditation
  • Go for regular check-ups with your doctor

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a lifestyle disease. Even though you can maintain it with regular medication, you should make lifestyle changes and improve your health naturally. Follow the DASH diet food list to make the right food choices. It will help lower your blood pressure and maintain a healthy lifestyle.