Your Guide to Eating with High Blood Pressure
Following a diet designed to target high blood pressure also has a positive impact on overall health. In 2021, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reviewed scientific studies from the past three decades on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. These studies indicate that this diet can lower your blood pressure and:
- improve your lipid panel
- help you lose weight
- reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
- reduce your risk of heart disease
The DASH diet recommends eating the following foods:
- soy products
- green leafy vegetables
- lean meats
- low fat dairy
- whole grains
- fruits rich in potassium, such as bananas and oranges
- monounsaturated oils, such as olive or canola oil
The DASH diet encourages limiting foods high in sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats.
Examples of foods that contain larger quantities of these ingredients include:
- processed and cured meats
- red meats, such as beef, lamb, and pork
- food high in saturated fat, such as cream, butter, and cheese
- food high in added sugar, such as desserts
The American Heart Association recommends that adults limit sodium consumption to no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. However, the association suggests working toward an ideal upper limit of 1,500 mg per day.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers this example of following the DASH diet for 7 days.
|1||bran flakes with sliced banana, a slice of toast, and 1 cup of orange juice||chicken salad with 2 slices of whole wheat bread, and a fruit cocktail juice pack|
roast beef with fat-free gravy, green beans, a small baked potato, a small whole wheat roll, an apple, and 1 cup of low fat milk
|unsalted almonds, raisins, or fat-free fruit yogurt|
|2||instant oatmeal, a mini whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, a medium banana, and 1 cup of low fat milk||a chicken salad sandwich with cantaloupe chunks and 1 cup of apple juice||low sodium vegetarian spaghetti with a spinach salad, canned pears, and 0.5 cups of cooked frozen corn|
unsalted almonds, dried apricots, and fat-free fruit yogurt
|3||bran flakes with sliced banana, a slice of toast, and 1 cup of orange juice||beef salad sandwich, 1 cup of potato salad, and a medium orange||cod, brown rice, and spinach, with almonds, and a small cornbread muffin||fat-free fruit yogurt, unsalted sunflower seeds, or 2 graham crackers with peanut butter|
|4||whole wheat toast, fat-free yogurt, a peach, and 0.5 cups of grape juice||ham and cheese salad sandwich with carrot sticks||chicken and Spanish rice, cantaloupe chunks, and 1 cup of low fat milk||unsalted almonds, 1 cup of apple juice, apricots, or 1 cup of low fat milk|
|5||whole grain oat rings cereal (Cheerios) with banana, a medium raisin bagel with 1 tbsp peanut butter, and 1 cup of orange juice||tuna salad with canned pineapple, a juice pack, and unsalted almonds||turkey meatloaf with a small baked potato, collard greens, a whole wheat roll, and a peach||fat-free fruit yogurt or unsalted sunflower seeds|
|6||low fat granola bar, a medium banana, fat-free fruit yogurt, 1 cup of orange juice, and 1 cup of low fat milk||turkey salad sandwich, steamed broccoli, and a medium orange||spicy baked fish |
with rice and vegetables, a whole wheat roll, and a small cookie
|unsalted peanuts, 1 cup of low fat milk, or dried apricots|
|7||whole grain oat rings (Cheerios) with banana and |
fat-free fruit yogurt
|tuna salad sandwich with an apple and 1 cup of low fat milk||zucchini lasagna with a spinach salad, a whole wheat roll, and 1 cup of grape juice||unsalted almonds, dried apricots, or whole wheat crackers|
An internist or cardiologist may make general diet recommendations for lowering your blood pressure. However, a registered dietician or licensed nutritionist can help design a tailored diet to fit your needs.
Your diet and blood pressure have a connected relationship.
Certain foods can cause a blood pressure spike after you eat. Additionally, some foods can have a long-term impact on your blood pressure health.