If You Have High Blood Pressure, Avoid These Foods

Those who have consistently high blood pressure suffer from hypertension, and they need to watch their salt and sugar intake. Over three-fourths of our salt consumption comes from sneaky sources.

From the type of cheese you buy to condiments, many foods sneak salt, sugar, and fats into your diet. Once you know about these foods, you can avoid them–and gradually lower your blood pressure. Learn about the foods that people with hypertension should avoid.

Limit Your Cheeses (And Choose The Right Ones)

It’s a myth that people with high blood pressure have to cut out cheese completely. You can eat cheese, but how much depends on the type of cheese. According to Heart Health, some cheeses contain more sodium than seawater. These include feta, halloumi, Roquefort, and cheese singles.

A saleswoman reaches for a cheese wheel.
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Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you want cheese with less saturated fat and salt, opt for mozzarella and cottage cheeses. And don’t discount reduced-fat cheese. They have the same flavor as regular cheese with 25% less fat. As long as you limit your portion sizes, you can eat these cheeses without worry.

More Soda Equals Higher Blood Pressure

Research suggests that cutting back on your soda intake could save your blood pressure. In 2011, scientists from the Imperial College in London analyzed almost 2,700 soda drinkers. Participants who drank more than one sweetened beverage a day had high blood pressure. Even worse, it kept increasing the more they drank.

Two girls pour soda at the 'Taste It!' exhibit in the World of Coca-Cola.
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The research identified the culprits as glucose, fructose, and salt. These are the most common sweeteners and preservatives used in soda. Fortunately, diet soda doesn’t cause the same effect, and cutting back on one soda per day does wonders for your blood pressure.

Don’t Buy Deli Meat

Pre-sliced deli meats are like sodium bombs. An average two-ounce serving of delicatessen lunch meat offers upwards of 500 grams of sodium. Even a leaner option like turkey quickly adds up to 1000 mg with only three slices. On the worse end, a single serving of Genoa provides 910 mg of salt.

A customer chooses from preserved sausages and hams at a supermarket.
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Sam Tsang/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

If you put these pre-sliced meats on a sandwich, you’ll only load up on more salt. Mustard, pickles, cheese–even whole wheat bread averages between 200 mg and 400 mg of sodium. Save yourself the hassle by buying fresh meat or cooking it yourself.

The Long Debate Over Coffee, Answered

The studies equating blood pressure and coffee are conflicting, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But after studying all the research, Switz scientists discovered that espresso spikes blood pressure more than plain caffeine. Strangely, noncaffeinated espresso did not cause this spike.

A woman holds a to-go cup of coffee on the street.
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Mario Tama/Getty Images

On the flip-side, Harvard researchers have found no link between heart disease and coffee, even in heavy drinkers. What’s the takeaway? It varies by person. If you feel fine after drinking coffee, you can continue to enjoy it in moderation. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to cut it out of your diet.

Sugar Is Worse Than Salt

When it comes to hypertension, many people focus on sodium. But research from 2014 argues that sugar is worse for blood pressure than salt. Published in Open Heart, the study states that sugar increases insulin, which speeds up the heart and blood pressure.

A girl is holding a Freestyle Libre blood glucose meter with far too high a blood glucose level next to plates of cake, milk and lollipops in her hands.
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Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to the study, participants who ate high sugar meals for two weeks experienced a noticeable spike in blood pressure. The authors assert that because too little sodium harms peoples’ health, people with hypertension should focus more on cutting out sugar.

Be Wary Of Canned Tomato Products

Most canned and bottled tomato sauces are preserved with sodium. According to the USDA, half a cup of classic marinara sauce has well over 400 mg of salt. A cup of tomato juice raises the sodium to 600 mg. If you don’t measure your sauce, the salt will sneak its way into your diet.

Worker wearing gloves holds a heart-shaped tomato.
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Reddit/u/candles_in_the_dark

Fortunately, a study in Food Science & Nutrition confirmed that unsalted tomato sauces lower hypertension and cholesterol. The American Heart Association offers recipes to make your own tomato products. If you need to buy some, search for a low-sodium option.

How You Cook Red Meat Matters

Although many studies have pointed fingers at red meat, new research suggests that the cooking method has more to do with high blood pressure. In 2018, researchers presented concluded a 16-year study about cooking red meat and fish. They concluded that high-temperature cooking, such as open flame, raised the risk of hypertension.

A cooker puts salt on beef in a traditional grill restaurant.
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EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP via Getty Images

Participants who grilled their meat and fish were 17% more likely to develop hypertension than those who broiled or roasted their meat. Researchers believe that over-cooking increases the inflammatory response in the body, raising blood pressure. Also, restrict your red meat consumption to twice a week.

Condiments Are Sneaky Salt Sources

Salt sneaks into almost every condiment. For instance, ketchup supplies 160 mg of salt per tablespoon. Teriyaki sauce marinades have almost 700 mg of sodium. Soy sauce is the worst: 1,500 mg of salt per one tablespoon! And many people glaze more than one tablespoon on their meals.

Hellmann's jars of mayonnaise are seen on a shelf at a store.
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Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The American Heart Association recommends finding low-sodium alternatives. You can make your own hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and ketchup at home. For salad dressings, hunt down a fat-free or “light” version. And always remember to measure out your portions.

White Potatoes, In Any Form, Increase Blood Pressure

Potato chips aren’t the only type of potato that is bad for hypertension. In 2016, scientists reported their findings on potatoes from over 20 years of research. According to them, those who ate boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes four times a week were 11% more likely to develop high blood pressure.

A doctor speaks to a patient as a sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure meter, lies on his desk.
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When potatoes mix with sodium, the result rises. Participants who ate french fries four or more times a week were 17% more likely to develop high blood pressure. Although potatoes can help in moderation due to their potassium, they have such a high glycemic index that you should eat them sparingly.

Avoid Milk Chocolate And White Chocolate

The lighter the chocolate, the more sugar it has. One cup of milk chocolate chips contains over 86 grams of sugar, whereas the same amount of white chocolate supplies 100 grams of sugar. According to a study in Open Heart, excess sugar is worse for hypertension than salt.

A person picks white chocolate from a stack of chocolates.
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Unsplash/@alphapixelstm

But there is good news. During a 2018 Harvard study, researchers concluded that dark chocolate might lower blood pressure. Because dark chocolate has 50% to 70% cocoa, it provides natural flavonoids that dilate blood vessels. But while dark chocolate has 50 mg of flavonoids, milk chocolate only contains 16 mg.

The Salt In Canned Beans Is Unavoidable

On their own, beans and legumes help lower blood pressure. But canned beans have added ingredients built to preserve them, namely salt. Many canned beans contain well over 1,000 mg of sodium. Although many people recommend rinsing the beans to get rid of salt, that doesn’t help much for hypertension patients.

A store displays shelves of Heinz beans.
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Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

According to physicians from Pritikin, soaking beans for ten minutes and rinsing them only removes 30% of the salt. In a can with 1,000 mg of sodium, that leaves 700 mg. It’s not a big enough difference to make canned beans healthy.

Don’t Cook With Certain Vegetable Oils

Some vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which harm blood pressure levels. According to a 2019 study in Open Heart, omega-6’s increase blood pressure through their high amounts of linoleic acid. Unfortunately, many of these high omega-6 oils slip into various foods.

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During a 2011 study, rats who were fed palm and soy oils experienced a noticeable increase in blood pressure. Other oils with high omega-6s include sunflower, corn, and cottonseed oils. Opt for more healthy cooking oils such as olive, coconut, and avocado. Even canola has less harmful omega-6s than other options.

Substitute High-Fat Whole Milk

High-fat foods make blood pressure worse, and fatty milk is no exception. Whole milk has high saturated fat, with one cup containing eight grams of fat and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding these saturated fats since they build up in your artery walls.

Dairy products are on shelves inside of a refrigerator in Shaw's grocery store.
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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

On the other hand, drinking low-fat milk alleviates high blood pressure. After analyzing over 60,000 people in 2014, researchers determined that drinking two cups of low-fat milk a day lowers the risk of hypertension. The calcium, potassium, and magnesium help to reduce blood pressure.

Mind The Salt In Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a high-sodium fermented food. One cup of sauerkraut has well over 900 mg of sodium. The only low-sodium option is raw, naturally fermented sauerkraut, and it’s not the same. Despite the salt, eating sauerkraut in moderation can benefit your blood pressure levels.

Cook adds Morses sauerkraut to a pan.
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Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, participants who ate fermented foods daily (such as kimchi) experienced lower weight and blood pressure. Sauerkraut’s high amount of potassium may help your blood pressure levels if you limit your portion sizes.

BPA Is A Big Risk In Canned Soups

It’s no secret that canned soup has high amounts of salt. But 2014 research in Hypertension suggests a more dangerous culprit, bisphenol A (BPA). According to researchers, this chemical can raise blood pressure up to 16 times its normal level. BPA is found in plastics and can linings.

Man has his blood pressure measured by Linda Williams, a medical assistant.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Compared to other canned foods, soup threatens to have most BPA. After measuring participants’ urine, researchers noted that they had 1000% more BPA from eating canned soup for five days, as opposed to homemade soup. Don’t risk this for a can of soup.

Donuts–Just Don’t

Donuts are one of the least healthy pastries you can east, especially if you have high blood pressure. They combine frying with sugar, two of the worst ingredients for hypertension. According to 2014 research from New Zealand, the more sugar we eat, the higher our blood pressure rises. And donuts have between 10 to 20 grams of sugar on average.

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If that isn’t enough, an average donut has well over 300 calories. Many are made of 42% fat and 54% carbs. And that’s not even considering the fried component. In short: pick another pastry for your breakfast treat.

Energy Drinks Alter Your Heart Rate

Like other highly-caffeinated drinks, energy drinks affect your blood pressure. But according to 2019 research by the American Heart Association, it also changes your heart rate. During the study, people who drank 32 ounces of energy drinks raised blood pressure and heart rate after 30 minutes.

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Unsplash/@nate_dumlao

The researchers emphasize that those with high blood pressure should avoid energy drinks. Otherwise, they’ll have a higher risk of ventricular arrhythmias, a fatal condition that causes abnormal heartbeats. If you have high blood pressure, get your caffeine fix elsewhere.

Why You Shouldn’t Eat White Rice

Like bread, rice can help or harm blood pressure depending on the type you eat. Refined white rice is the most dangerous option. Stripped of bran and germ, white rice has none of the nutrients of whole wheat rice. According to Harvard research, people who ate more than five servings of white rice per week have a 17% greater chance of type 2 diabetes.

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Unsplash/@mikko_o

There is some good news for white rice, and that’s in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). During a 2015 study, GABA rice was found to improve blood pressure in hypertensive people. But common store-bought white rice doesn’t have this benefit.

Don’t Pick Pickles

Although they’re tasty, pickles are the epitome of “salty food.” A medium-sized pickle supplies a max of 800 mg of salt, over half of your daily recommended dose on a low-sodium diet. In 2018, a study by LiveStrong confirmed that eating pickles raises blood pressure.

Chopped cucumber soaks in pickle jars.
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

As with all high-sodium foods, pickles are fine in moderation. But combined with other salty foods–deli meat sandwiches, cheeses, and hot dogs–will heighten your salt intake considerably. Salt places greater pressure on your blood vessels, which increases blood pressure. If you like pickles, restrict your serving sizes.

Watch Your Peanut Butter Servings

Peanut butter can work in a hypertensive diet. However, you’ll need to monitor the peanut butter closely. Many peanut butters contain added sugars and vegetable oils, both of which can clog arteries. Look out for nut butters with partially hydrogenated oils, palm oils, and soy oils.

Peanut butter is spread on a knife above a PB&J sandwich.
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Pinterest/Peg Fitzpatrick – Pinterest, Instagram & Social Media Tips

The American Heart Association’s hypertension diet allows a small amount of peanut butter that can lower blood pressure. They allot one serving (two tablespoons) four to five times a week. The National Peanut Board also advises choosing butters with fully hydrogenated oil, which has no trans fats.

Steer Clear Of Fried Meals

Corn dogs, chicken tenders, and fries are never the healthiest choice, but they’re more dangerous for people with high blood pressure. To the surprise of no one, a 2019 study confirmed that the more you eat, the worse your blood pressure becomes. Participants who ate fried food daily had a 14% greater chance of developing heart disease.

A person removes fried fish fillets from a frying pan.
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Dennis Anderson/Star Tribune via Getty Images

A prior study in 2018 indicated that a Southern American diet (with more fried food) worsens blood pressure by up to 17%. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the American Heart Association advises people with high blood pressure to steer clear of fried foods.

Easy-Made Ramen Is A Mistake

Although instant ramen noodles may make a quick meal, they also pose a health risk. According to a 2014 study in The Journal of Nutrition, eating instant noodles more than two times a week raised the risk of high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome. And that’s excluding the potential for weight gain.

Dried ramen noodle packages are stacked on a store shelf.
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Getty Images

An average pack of instant ramen noodles supplies 1,820 mg of salt. That’s two-thirds of the FDA’s daily sodium recommendation. Plus, instant ramen is preserved with Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which your body struggles to digest. It’s an overall high blood pressure trap.

Frozen Pot Pies Are Both Salty And Fatty

Like many processed foods, frozen pot pies are packed with sodium. A single serving contains 1,400 mg of sodium. For reference, the American Heart Association recommends only 1,500 mg of salt per day for adults with high blood pressure. If you have two servings, you’ll be way over your salt limit.

The frozen meal box is for a Marie Callender's chicken pot pie.
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Getty Images

Frozen pot pies also supply over 40 grams of fat, including saturated and trans fats. You’d potentially ruin your day’s diet with one serving of pot pie. The good news: if you bake a pot pie at home, you can cut down on sodium and fat.

Frozen Pizza Has Only Bad Ingredients

Tomato sauces and cheeses naturally have salt. Combine that with sodium preservatives, and you have an unhealthy meal. Some frozen pizzas, such as Dr. Oetker’s and Morrisons, have well over five grams of sodium. Remember that the daily recommended intake for people with hypertension is 2.3 grams maximum.

Annie's organic frozen pizza is cooked and lies on a cutting board.
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“Adults should eat no more than six grams of salt a day,” reports the National Health Association. A single frozen pizza has well over that amount. And that’s not accounting for the amount of fat in pre-made pizzas, too.

Butter Has Too Many Saturated Fats

Butter is filled with saturated fats. While a little saturated fat is okay and even healthy, more doesn’t equal better. According to a 2016 study in the Iranian Journal of Neurology, a diet high in saturated fat results in high blood pressure across the board. Dairy butter has a whopping seven grams of saturated fat per serving.

Close-up shot displays butter with toast.
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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Although some people have praised dairy butter for protein, the truth is that one serving of butter only supplies 0.1 grams of protein. It’s not enough to make a difference, especially not in your blood pressure.

Pre-Made Banana Bread Isn’t Healthy

Depending on where you get your banana bread, it can work for or against you. If you buy one from the store, chances are that one serving will give you 20 grams of sugar and nine grams of fat, mostly trans fats. Both of these ingredients are discouraged by the American Heart Association for patients with high blood pressure.

Banana bread from Huckleberry is laid out on a cutting board.
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However, you can enjoy banana bread if you make it yourself. According to Nutritionist and Dietitian Megan Ware, bananas contribute to lower blood pressure. Use less sugar and whole-grain bread for a healthy banana bread recipe.

White Bread Is Salty

Believe it or not, many types of store-bought white bread contain salt. For instance, a slice of Sara Lee white bread provides 130 mg of salt per slice, which is 6% of your daily recommended sodium. While this sounds low in theory, combine two slices with deli meat, pickles, and condiments, and you’ll have a blood pressure-raising sodium pill.

A boy spreads butter on white bread.
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Blood Pressure UK recommends buying low-salt or no-sodium bread. You can ask your local baker to make salt-free bread or bake the bread yourself. Also, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension recommends whole grain.

Bacon Has No Benefits

While bacon is delicious, it supplies close to nothing in nutritional value. One serving of bacon supplies one-fourth of your daily fat intake, with mostly saturated fats. In 2011, a study in the journal Hypertension reported that high amounts of saturated fat increase blood pressure.

Bacon cooks in a frying pan.
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“I think bacon is probably one of the worst foods on the planet,” cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Omid Javaid told Fox News. “When you look at its content, it’s pure fat and cholesterol.” And we haven’t even touched upon 270 mg of sodium per serving. Yikes!

Skip Happy Hour

If you have high blood pressure, watch how much you drink. During a 2019 study by the American College of Cardiology, researchers concluded that even moderate drinking still raises one’s blood pressure. Only seven to 13 drinks per week negatively impact hypertension.

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Unsplash/@bradneathery

Researchers believe that either the calorie gain or liver strain contributes to the spike in blood pressure. Either way, you’ll want to limit your happy hour time. If you’re under 65, you won’t want to exceed two drinks per day. Those over 65 can only have one drink per day.

Watch The Chinese Take-Out

It’s no secret that Chinese restaurant food is filled with sodium, but many people don’t know how much. According to Fox News, a standard entrée of beef and broccoli has over 3,000 mg of salt. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg of sodium for patients with hypertension.

Customers eat lunch at Tasty Dining, a Chinese style restaurant.
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Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Are you willing to double your daily recommended salt in one meal alone? Probably not. Granted, some Chinese places offer low salt options, but takeout and fast-food restaurants are the worst culprits. Buy your food somewhere else.

Do Not Drink Anything From A Can

You now know that canned foods harm blood pressure. But did you know that the same applies to canned drinks? In 2014, scientists from South Korea compared glass bottle drinks to canned drinks. According to them, a canned beverages can raise your blood pressure by 16 times compared to ones from glass bottles.

A man hands another man two canned drinks.
Anna Hecker/Unsplash
Anna Hecker/Unsplash

Blame the BPA in cans. According to researchers, the chemical bisphenol A disrupts hormones such as estrogen, which in turns destabilizes your blood pressure. If you want to drink sparkling water or iced tea, do not have it in a can.

A Single Hot Dog Packs A Lot Of Sodium

A single hot dog might not seem like a lot of sodium and fat, but don’t be fooled. “People think ‘it’s low-fat and not bad for me,’” says Dr. Martha Gulati, the chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona. In reality, a single hot dog has 567 mg of sodium!

A hot dog is displayed with a pamphlet during a food competition.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF

When people eat hot dogs, most people add condiments such as relish, ketchup, and mustard. These only add sodium to an already salty meal. Research in the scientific journal Hypertension proves that lowering your salt intake will lower blood pressure. Avoid hot dogs!

Check The Ingredients On Rotisserie Chicken

Premade rotisserie chickens seem like a healthy, convenient meal to pick up from the supermarket. Nutritionist Jessica Mantell told Today to scan the sodium content before picking one up. Some of them contain a surprising amount of salt, especially in the skin. “Sometimes, it could be as much as 1/2 of your daily recommended sodium intake,” she said.

Several premade rotisserie chickens are on display in a grocery store.
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And that’s not the whole chicken. A three-ounce serving (about the size of a deck of cards) could have 600 mg of salt. If you’re watching your blood pressure, you’re better off cooking chicken yourself.

Salad Dressings: Not As Healthy As They Seem

Salad dressings are always healthy, right? Not so fast. Many store-bought salad dressings are made with soybean and canola oils, which are not healthy for blood pressure. “[Salad dressings] can add a lot of calories, sodium, sugar, and saturated fat,” explains registered dietitian Kathy McManus.

A bowl of salad leaves are seen with salad dressing and pickled vegetables.
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According to Harvard Health, this added salt and sugar could have detrimental effects. Even if you’re taking medication for blood pressure, the excess sodium can negate the medication, making them virtually useless. Instead of buying salad dressings, make your own with olive oil, vinaigrettes, lemon juice, and herbs.

Artificial Sweeteners Are Not Better Than Sugar

Many people consume artificial sweeteners to cut down on sugar or lose weight. However, studies show that these sweeteners are not as healthy as they seem. In 2017, research from Canadian Medical Association determined that artificial sweeteners can heighten blood pressure. They are also linked to heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.

A variety of artificial sweetener packets are laid out on a table.
@HarvardHealth/Twitter
@HarvardHealth/Twitter

Researchers explain that people who eat artificial sweeteners tend to gain weight, not lose it. Chemicals such as aspartame are bad news for people with high blood pressure. However, natural sweeteners such as Stevia might not be as harmful.

Fruit Juices Are Not As Healthy As They Sound

Don’t be fooled: the “fruit” in fruit juice does not make it healthy. In fact, a 2014 study in the journal Appetite shows that fruit juice significantly raises a person’s blood pressure. Why? Because juice contains a dangerously high amount of sugar.

Orange juice is seen bottled and in a glass.
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Eiliv-Sonas Aceron/Unsplash

According to the Australian researchers, natural sugars in fruit hardly affect blood pressure because of the fiber. A single cup of juice has around 23 grams of sugar with zero fiber. This only heightens your blood pressure; stay away from sweetened fruit juices if you want to avoid this.

Buy Fresh Vegetables, Not Canned

Canned vegetables are inexpensive and last much longer than fresh ones. However, they contain more sodium and BPA. For instance, half a can of preserved green beans contains 200 mg of salt, compared to the 6 mg from fresh green beans.

A variety of preserved vegetables are seen in jars.
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Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Despite this, few people get sodium spikes from canned vegetables. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association reports that only one percent of Americans’ sodium intake comes from canned vegetables. Still, you should not eat them all the time. Always go fresh whenever you can.

Have A Banana

Bananas are so good for your heart that the USDA allowed the banana industry to market the fruit as such. These yellow packs of protein and vitamins make a great on the go snack. They also contain a whole lot of potassium, which can help counter the effect sodium has on high blood pressure.

Have A Banana
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Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Bananas are delicious. You can eat them on their own for breakfast, blend them into a smoothie, or turn them into pancakes with a simple no-flour recipe.

Cantaloupe Can Do it All

Cantaloupe is another fruit option that you can eat to keep your blood pressure from spiking. Like bananas, cantaloupes are full of potassium. They’re not as convenient a banana, but some people find them to be more delicious.

Cantaloupe Can Do it All
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Also, these melons are rich with choline, fiber, and vitamin C—all things that are great for heart health. Pick up a cantaloupe the next time you’re at the supermarket. You won’t regret it. Plus look how pretty and orange they are!

Carrots Fight Against Hypertension

Carrots are a great vegetable to have in a salad or all by themselves. Dip it in a hearth healthy dip and you’re good to go. Carrots, like cantaloupe and bananas, have a high level of potassium. We already know that potassium is great for counteracting the effects of sodium on your blood pressure.

Carrots Fight Against Hypertension
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Marge Ely for The Washington Post via Getty Images

In addition, the beta-carotene levels in carrots are also shown to benefit those aiming to normalize their blood pressure. Carrot juice is a delicious way to get all of these nutrients in your body.

Turmeric Is Literal Gold

Turmeric is a spice that adds a gorgeous yellow color to whatever you’re cooking, plus it has a delicious nutty flavor. This spice has also been used medicinally in India for centuries.

Turmeric Is Literal Gold
Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post
Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post

In recent years, it’s become something of a superfood in the West. Turmeric is associated with having a positive effect on high blood pressure, particularly among people who have kidney diseases. This effect may be due to curcumin, which is a component found in turmeric.

Eat Oatmeal For Breakfast

Breakfast can be difficult if you have high blood pressure. You definitely don’t want to indulge in salty breakfast meats such as sausage or bacon. SO what can you have instead? How about a hearty bowl of oatmeal?

Eat Oatmeal For Breakfast
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Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images

One study even found that people who ate oatmeal regularly were able to reduce the need for blood pressure medication over time. That’s because oatmeal contains whole grains and fiber, which are both essential in the regulation of blood pressure.

Have Some Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are full of fiber and healthy fats that are great for your heart health, however, make sure you’re snacking on unsalted sunflower seeds. Consuming too much salt can have a negative effect on your blood pressure.

sunflower
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Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamin E, a component the body uses to make blood cells and lower blood pressure. In addition, this tiny seed is full of other nutrients known for regulating blood pressure, such as magnesium and protein.

You Say Tomato, I Say A Blood Pressure Superfood

Tomatoes are some of the most versatile food items that you can get your hands on. ou can eat them raw, throw them in a salad, cook them down to make tomato sauce, roast them, boil them, throw them in a chili, make salsa, the possibilities ae endless.

You Say Tomato, I Say A Blood Pressure Superfood
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John Innes Centre UK via Getty Images

Tomatoes can make a positive impact on high blood pressure. Lycopene and potassium are components that are abundant in tomatoes and are widely associated with lowering high blood pressure.

Avocados Can Do It All

Avocados sometimes get a bad rap for being a high-fat food, but this fruit is full of the “good fats” that can help promote healthy cholesterol. In addition, avocados can provide lutein and potassium when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

avocado
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Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for CBD For Life

These two nutrients are essential when it comes to managing high blood pressure.

Jump On The Spinach Train

We think Popeye must have been onto something when he kept eating all of that spinach. Spinach may not give you super strength, but it can make your heart super strong.

ump On The Spinach Train
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Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

This leafy green contains antioxidants that help reduce stress on the blood vessels, and thus, help regulate blood pressure. In addition, the peptides found in spinach are known to help lower high blood pressure. You can eat spinach on its own or blend it into a smoothie.

Kiwi Is Cool

Kiwis come with a delicious burst of flavor and a very satisfying texture. we can’t get enough of these little fuzzy green fruits. They are also ferocious when it comes to helping hypertension through diet. A 2011 study found that eating three kiwis a day over the course of eight weeks was associated with a drop in blood pressure. This is because of lutein, a type of antioxidant that is associated with reducing free radicals that can contribute to higher blood pressure.

Kiwi Is Cool
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Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Get your daily dose of kiwi if you want to keep your blood pressure low.

Pop Some Edamame

Edamame, or soybeans, can make for a healthy snack—especially alongside sushi—that helps reduce high blood pressure.

Pop Some Edamame
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Tara Walton/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Not only is this versatile legume contain nutrients that aid in lowering blood pressure, but it’s also packed with other things that are known to help prevent cancer, osteoporosis, as well as high cholesterol.

Munch On Beets

If you want to beat high blood pressure, beets may be one of your best bets. Many studies have shown this root to have several health benefits, including offsetting hypertension.

Munch On Beets
Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post
Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post

One key reason beets are so beneficial is their level of nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure. Not into eating beets? Beet juice can also help!

Blueberries Are A Superfood

Blueberries are an incredible topping—and an even more incredible superfood. Full to the brim with flavonoids, these berries can make for a great way to help sustain normal blood pressure levels.

Blueberries Are A Superfood
MICHAEL URBAN/AFP/Getty Images
MICHAEL URBAN/AFP/Getty Images

According to some research, two cups of frozen or fresh blueberries each day over the course of eight weeks can help lower blood pressure by as much as 6%.

Dark Chocolate!

Dark chocolate—defined as unsweetened chocolate containing 50 percent cocoa—was found to really beneficial on blood pressure, according to a Harvard study. This sweet, and somewhat bitter, treat contains flavonoids, which help dilate blood and improve blood pressure.

Dark Chocolate
BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

And the blood-pressure-lowering effect was shown to be even more significant among people with hypertension.

White Beans Are Full Of Potassium

White beans are among the many beans that contain a large amount of potassium—a very important nutrient when it comes to lowering high blood pressure. In addition, white beans are full of magnesium, another powerful protectant against blood pressure problems.

White Beans Are Full Of Potassium
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Not to mention, these beans are an excellent source of protein!

The Mighty Flax Seed

Although flax seeds are tiny, they pack a huge punch when it comes to fighting off hypertension. Flaxseed is rich with a unique omega-3 fatty acid, known as alpha-linoleic acid.

The Mighty Flax Seed
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Research has shown that eating more of this type of fatty acid can help lower blood pressure. Flaxseed can be enjoyed on top of many foods, like salads or avocados.

Strawberries Are Healthy And Delicious

The tart sweetness of strawberries may seem sinful, but these red babies are brimming with health benefits, especially for those with high blood pressure. Strawberries have a lot of potassium, and that nutrient is essential to normalizing blood pressure in the body.

strawberry
Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

In addition, strawberries are loaded with antioxidants that help relax the blood vessels, making it an incredibly heart-healthy fruit.

Artichokes Act As Antioxidants

These prickly leaves can help you leave high blood pressure behind. Artichokes are high in potassium, which help the body balance out some of the effects of eating heart-unhealthy sodium.

Artichokes Act As Antioxidants
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Simona Granati/Corbis via Getty Images

As an added bonus, artichokes are also antioxidant champs that can help neutralize cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

Eat Your Brussels Sprouts

While Brussels sprouts may have a funky smell when they are cooked, they can be a great way to bring down high blood pressure. There is a ton of potassium in Brussels sprouts, which can help protect your help from high blood pressure.

Eat Your Brussels Sprouts
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

In addition, this food is naturally low in sodium and fat, making them great snacking or side dish alternatives when following a heart-healthy diet.

Get More Oregano

Trying out new spices can be a great way to enjoy food while using less salt —a heavy contributor to high blood pressure. Oregano is one herb, however, that can do a lot to help, as it contains carvacrol.

Get More Oregano
Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images
Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images

This nutritional component is associated with lowering high blood pressure.

Snack On Raisins

Raisins are a type of dehydrated fruit associated with positive effects on blood pressure. In addition to being loaded with potassium, raisins contain a dietary fiber known to help keep blood vessels healthy.

Snack On Raisins
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Raisins make great on-the-go snacks as well as excellent salad or parfait toppings.