Recommended Foods for High Blood Pressure

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you need to pay special attention to what you eat. Eating a diet that is heart-healthy is an important component of managing blood pressure and reducing the risk of conditions related to high blood pressure such as heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.

The basic principles of healthy eating are the foundation for managing high blood pressure. To help you stick to your goals, keeping a diary of what you eat can be helpful. Pay attention to serving sizes, the frequency of meals and snacks, and whether you eat more or less during times of stress.

Some things to avoid::

This article includes dietary tips to help you manage hypertension.


Whole Grains

Whole grain bread loaf

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Whole-grain foods are a powerful source of complex carbohydrates (a great source of energy) and can help to control cholesterol and balance the secretion of hormones like insulin. There's an association between diabetes and hypertension, so controlling both of these health problems has great benefits for your health.
These hormone balancing effects can help decrease appetite and lower body weight, which is an important facet of high blood pressure control.

Add the following to your diet to boost your intake of whole grains:

  • Hearty bread
  • Natural oat products
  • Barley

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables on a table

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Probably the most familiar piece of dietary advice: eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They are a good source of stable energy, are low in calories, help curb appetite, and work to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol. They are also a great source of vitamins and minerals, like potassium.

One fun way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meals is to eat three different colors of vegetables with each meal. So, a few pieces of carrot, two cherry tomatoes, and a serving of green, leafy vegetables would do the trick.

Remember, too, that when it comes to cooking fruits and vegetables, steaming is better than boiling, and some nutritionists believe raw is the best.


Lean Meats

Chicken dinner on a plate

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Traditionally, lean meats have been identified as

  • Poultry (white meat)
  • Fish
  • Lean pork

With the continued expansion of food choices, though, some interesting new options are available. The increasing availability of choices like buffalo and ostrich might be worth looking into. Buffalo tastes nearly identical to beef, but a serving contains less than half the fat and only one-third of the calories in a serving of white meat chicken! Ostrich is positioned similarly on the health ladder. Both can be used in any recipe that calls for beef.


Pescatarian or Plant Based Diet

While it can be challenging for some people, reducing or eliminating meat or animal products (like eggs and dairy) can help lower blood pressure, as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

If you adopt a vegetarian or pescatarian diet, make sure you are getting enough protein and fat, which are found in plant-based foods like nuts and avocados.


D.A.S.H. Plan

If you are looking for a specific nutrition plan that outlines exactly what you should and shouldn't eat, you might consider the D.A.S.H. plan, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This plan, endorsed by the American Heart Association, has been proven effective at decreasing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure for all types of patients.

The D.A.S.H. plan emphasizes lowering your intake of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugary drinks while eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Heart Association. Managing Blood Pressure with a Heart-Healthy Diet.

  2. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. New dietary guidelines urge Americans to eat less added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.

By Craig O. Weber, MD
Craig O. Weber, MD, is a board-certified occupational specialist who has practiced for over 36 years.