What Is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure or hypertension means that the heart is working harder to pump blood through the body. And the blood pressure is higher than normal. For most adults, normal blood pressure is a systolic pressure of less than 120 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure of less than 80 mm Hg according to CDC. You have high blood pressure if you have a BP reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. And if that is the case, you should work towards lowering it. And the good thing is that aside from medication, there are several ways to reduce high blood pressure naturally.
On the other hand, many at-risk adults do not have high blood pressure but are prehypertensive. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), prehypertension is when the systolic is 120–139 mm Hg and the diastolic is 80–89 mm Hg. If you find yourself in this category, this post will help you manage your blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart diseases such as stroke, liver failure, and a host of other conditions. It is typically recommended to increase potassium intake to 4,700 milligrams (mg) daily if you have elevated blood pressure.
According to the CDC, people with high blood should have less than 1000mg of sodium a day to help mitigate it.
High Blood Pressure Statistics in America:
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about half of the adults in the United States have hypertension (high blood pressure/HBP). This is about 119.9 million people, 48.1%. Financially, high blood pressure costs the American government about $131 billion yearly.You can naturally manage blood pressure by eating healthy potassium-rich foods, exercising, and managing stress. Click To Tweet
How to Lower High Blood Pressure
Do you know how important your blood pressure (BP) is for your health? When they check your blood pressure at the doctor’s office, they measure the force of your blood along the artery walls. This flow ensures your blood goes to all your organs and tissues. When your BP is high, it can lead to big health problems. Let’s look at some ways to reduce high blood pressure naturally.
Keep reading to learn about reducing your high blood pressure with the right foods and what not to eat as well.
Potassium Can Lower High Blood Pressure. But, Is High Potassium Diet for Everyone?
First, what is potassium? Potassium is an essential nutrient that the body needs. It is vital to the functioning of several organs in the body, such as the heart and kidneys.
Please note that a high potassium diet is not for everyone, such as people with advanced liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or stomach ulcers.
While potassium can help lower high blood pressure, I do not recommend potassium supplements. If your doctor prescribes a potassium supplement, then you can. Otherwise, never buy an over-the-counter potassium supplement.Focus on high potassium foods! In today’s post, I am focusing on potassium foods that will help reduce high blood pressure naturally.
What is the Daily Recommended Intake of Potassium?
The National Institute of Health (NIH) daily recommended potassium intake is 2,600mg for women 19 and above. At the same time, 3,400mg for me 19 years and above. For teen girls between the ages of 14 – 18 years, the potassium intake is 2,300mg. Generally, a healthy adult should consume between 3,500mg – 4,700mg daily from food!
Reduce High Blood Pressure: 21 Foods to Eat
If you have high blood pressure, start taking your health seriously by eating some of these 21 foods to help reduce it. If you are prehypertensive, these foods will help you get your blood pressure back to normal naturally.
1. Bananas Can Help Lower High Blood Pressure!
I’ve mentioned before how much I love bananas. They taste great, and they have a high potassium content. Potassium is one of the best things to help your blood pressure naturally. Bananas are high in potassium, but let’s face it, they are also high in sugar and carbs. I do recommend moderation, as with most things in life.
There are several ways to include bananas in your recipes. You can add half a banana to your morning oatmeal bowls to substitute for the sweetener. This banana granola recipe is a healthy granola recipe you make. Add to your yogurt bowls and perfect snacks.
Another one that’s good on that potassium is Butternut squash. Winter squash varieties, like butternut and acorn squash, are incredibly rich in this mineral. Put it in your air fryer, and you’ll have a tasty and healthy side dish that supports heart health.
On the other hand, squash is also high in carbohydrates, so ensure to reduce sodium and sugars. I like making butternut squash soup, especially during the fall/winter season. Ensure not to add salt or at least keep it low sodium.
Carrots are nutritious, whether cooked or uncooked, packed with phenolic compounds. These compounds are excellent for fighting inflammation and helping the blood vessels relax.
One of my family’s favorite ways to eat carrots is munching on raw baby carrots as snacks! You can also add them to soups, stir-fry, juice, or salads. Check out this shredded beet salad with carrots and apples.
4. Reduce High Blood Pressure with Avocado
Avocados are one of the best foods on the planet! They contain a significant amount of monounsaturated fats, aka the good fats. Avocado is a superfood that helps reduce blood pressure and blood sugar and provides the body with tons of other vitamins and minerals.
I tend to put avocado on everything, LOL, and I’m glad I do because I love it. Not only does it taste great, but it also has plenty of potassium. Feel free to indulge in adding slices of it to your salads, eggs, bowls, soups, and more! Half an avocado has about 345 milligrams of potassium. Learn more avocado here and check out this spring mix salad with avocado.
5. Spinach and Other Greens.
Add more greens to your diet, especially if you have elevated blood pressure or wish to lower it. Greens like kale, spinach, spring mix, broccoli, and green beans are heart-healthy. Be sure not to over salt them, thereby defeating the purpose.
While all the leafy greens are great for potassium, spinach packs a punch. You can eat it raw or cooked to get these benefits. You can add spinach to smoothies and breakfast wraps. This spinach berry salad is a great start. Check it out.
6. Manage Hypertension with Shellfish!
Do you love scallops, clams, and mussels? These mollusks not only have plentiful potassium but also iron, zinc, and an array of good fats too. They taste great and they cook up quickly, making it easy to have a nutritious, and elegant meal, even on a busy weeknight.
7. Reduce High Blood Pressure with Salmon
Salmon is one protein I dedicatedly eat every week. It is easy to make and perfect with salad, roasted veggies, and everything. Salmon is a fantastic heart-healthy fatty fish with plenty of Omega-3 fats!
Research shows that increasing Omega-3 can help lower the risk of having hypertension. Salmon provides potassium while also having a low saturated fat content. It has vitamin D and B12 plus iron, and you can even make it in your air fryer for a fabulous dinner. I love air fryer salmon and avocado salsa. Also, salmon in spinach sauce. However you choose to make salmon, ensure it is low sodium!
8. Unsalted Nuts and Seeds
Speaking of nuts, you can add them along with seeds on top of your Greek yogurt for a fully satisfying and potassium-rich breakfast or snack. Or eat them as-is for a healthier snacking option.
Choose unsalted versions of pumpkin seeds, almonds, and pistachios for your best health. Nuts and seeds can surely help with blood pressure; make sure they are unsalted.
9. Reduce High Blood Pressure by Eating Tomatoes.
Tomatoes are excellent for high blood pressure. However, make sure you are using fresh tomatoes. Canned tomatoes have a hidden high sodium content!
One of the easiest ways I love adding tomatoes to my diet is adding those small grape tomatoes to salad! Grape or cherry tomatoes are equally snackable! You can easily make tomato lettuce salad, like this one below. Easy, but it works!😂
10. Coconut Water
If you struggle to drink enough water, try some coconut water instead. A cup of coconut water has even more potassium than a banana.
If you’re not a fan of the flavor, pour it into your smoothies; I used coconut water to make this tropical smoothie. If you can crack open a coconut to enjoy some coconut water otherwise, you can buy the coconut water from the store. Read the ingredients label to ensure it says “coconut water” as the only ingredient. See below my coconut water from a real coconut, this was so refreshing!
11. Lower Blood Pressure with Beets (Beetroots)!
Beets contain several nutrients and vitamins, especially nitrates, that can help your heart health! Beet Juice can help increase the blood flow, thereby reducing blood pressure.
Beetroot is low in calories and can help the body to stay more active. I had that sports nutritionists encourage athletes to eat more recipes with beets. This is because it’s energy-giving!
Personally, I love beets. It is probably one of my favorite vegetables. I enjoy raw beets and cooked beets. This is why I have several beet recipes here. From Beet juice, beet puree, roasted beets, and beets dessert! I have made them all! However, you must focus on healthy beetroot recipes when reducing blood pressure with beets. Beet juice, roasted beets, beet puree, or beet smoothie are all excellent choices!
12. Control Hypertension with Lentils
Lentils are terrific in soups and curries because they taste great and fill you up. They also give you fiber, potassium, protein, zinc, and iron, so be sure to add them to more of your meals.
13. Pure Fruit or Veggie Juices
Store-bought fruit and vegetable juices are riddled with sugars and sweeteners. While you’re better off eating the whole fruit, you can also enjoy 100% pure fruit or vegetable juices that you make at home. That means no water or sugar added in, so you may want to use your juicer and make them yourself.
I suggest celery juice, pineapple and cumber juice and other healthy juices you can make at home using your juicer. You can sign up for my 28-Day Juicing for Weight Loss if you struggle with your weight.
14. Potatoes Can Lower High Blood Pressure!
Both white potatoes and sweet potatoes give you a healthy way to fill up and provide potassium. Use as little water as possible when boiling to prevent potassium from depleting during the cooking process. Alternatively, cook by baking, grilling, or steaming.
There are several ways to add potatoes to your diet! You can air fry sweet potato cubes and add your bowl as I did below! You can equally air fry regular white potatoes and serve as a side alongside your choice of protein.
Make the right dairy choices, like non-fat Greek yogurt and fat-free milk. Dairy can help you get that potassium your body needs. If you’re vegan, you won’t miss out either – those nut milks also have a lot of potassium.
16. Reduce High Blood Pressure with Grapefruit.
Grapefruit is heart-healthy, gut-healthy, anti-inflammatory, and can help lower high blood pressure because of its high potassium content! This fruit is fiber-rich, meaning that it helps with constipation. Grapefruit is not for everyone; if it is for you, go for it. I this post, I expanded on the benefits of grapefruits. Learn more here.
I enjoy making grapefruit juice at home. That’s really my favorite way to eat it. Here is my grapefruit juice recipe.
Same as grapefruit, oranges contain an essential nutrient called flavonoids. This heart-healthy nutrient can help reduce high blood pressure. Stay away from store-bought orange juices; homemade ones are encouraged. I enjoy peeling fresh oranges and eating them. Alternatively, you can make a citrus smoothie like the one in the photo below.
18. Manage Hypertension with Beans!
Beans and peas can significantly lower hypertension. They contain a lot of protein and fiber as well. Luckily, there are different varieties of beans. Lima or butter beans is one of my favs. I also enjoy black-eyed peas. They are fantastic for making African recipes such as akara balls – black-eyed peas fritters. Also, we enjoy this Nigerian beans porridge (pictured below). Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas are all excellent varieties to try.
19. Garlic Can Reduce High Blood Pressure
Though garlic lowers pressure, many people dislike eating raw garlic because of its lingering aftertaste and smell. Usually, if you eat raw garlic when you open your mouth, people will know. Its strong smell is undeniable! Alternatively, you can eat cooked garlic by adding it to your recipes. I add garlic to everything: soups, stews, rice, and stir-fry.
The systolic blood pressure (the top number) can be reduced by 7-9 mmHg when you consume garlic. On the other hand, the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) can also go down by 4-6 mmHg.
Aside from lowering blood pressure, garlic is also immune boosting, contains excellent antibiotic properties, and can help reduce cholesterol levels.
20. Berries Can Prevent Hypertension!
Everyone loves berries; tasty, juicy, and colorful! Not alone are berries delicious; they also contain loads of vitamins and nutrients. Berries contain anthocyanins; this nutrient is linked to reducing blood pressure. If you have hypertension, berries will do you good. And if you do not have high blood pressure, berries are excellent, too. Blueberries, a superfood, can help with managing blood pressure and equally help prevent hypertension!
21. Honeydew Melon
Honeydew melons are heart-healthy, contain tons of vitamin C, and can be great for the skin!
Aside from being linked to better skin health, honeydew melon can protect against chronic diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Honeydew melon may also support bone health, digestive health, and it’s a great immune booster. There are many ways to enjoy this melon. Cut it up and eat just like that. Add some to fruit salad, salsas or juice them like I love doing.
I always look forward to the summer when this fruit is abundant, so I buy loads of them and juice with Kale. Honeydew is one of my favorite fruits to juice. This was such a refreshing and nutritious juice!😋
You can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range by making sure you eat right, get some exercise and reduce your stress. Eat more foods that are high in potassium while limiting your alcohol and salt intake. Be intentional and limit foods that can make high blood pressure worse. Learn more about high blood pressure here!Blood pressure or hypertension is considered a silent killer that usually doesn't show any warning signs. This post will show you what do and how to manage high blood pressure or prevent it naturally. Click To Tweet
13 Foods to Avoid If You Want to Reduce/Manage Blood Pressure!
Now that you know the foods that can help your blood pressure, here are the foods you need to avoid if you want to reduce blood pressure:
- Salt and Salty foods (like chips)
- Sugary foods (like cakes, candies, and cookies)
- Red meat especially marbled steak
- Sandwich meats (those preservatives and all that salt are dangerous)
- Sugary drinks
- Saturated fats (desserts, processed meats, etc.)
- Processed and prepackaged foods
- Condiments (ketchup and BBQ sauce and store-bought salad dressings, oh my!)
- Canned foods including canned vegetables! If you must have canned foods pour out the water/juice.
- Deli meat. Unfortunately, it may sound healthy turkey. Salami
- Pickles sound healthy but very salty. Stay away from pickle if you wish to reduce high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure FAQs
There is no way to quickly drop your blood pressure down. In other words, you will need to make long-term changes to get it to a healthy reading. Reduce your stress, sleep better, exercise, and eat right!
Drinking water is great for you but it won’t just lower your blood pressure, unless you’re already dehydrated. Alongside drinking water, cultivate a healthy lifestyle!
Often, unhealthy lifestyle choices we engage with over time can lead to high BP. Also, pregnant women can be more prone to it too during gestation. Make sure you’re engaging in healthier choices all around to keep yourself healthy.
You can naturally help your blood pressure by getting exercise, dropping any excess weight, reducing stress, sleeping well, and eating a healthy diet. Hopefully my list of foods to eat and avoid will help you find that balance!
Have you ever had high blood pressure? Are you currently going through it, or are you prehypertensive? What natural remedies worked for you? Or what is working? Please share helpful tips in the comments so the community can learn from your experience.
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Please note that THIS POST IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. Always consult your physician or medical provider before making medical decisions. The content within this post is for informational purposes only.