If you have high blood pressure, you’re well aware of the types of foods you shouldn’t be eating. Your doctor has probably shoved a lengthy list of don’ts down your throat: Don’t eat red meat; steer clear of too much salt. At a certain point, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What can I eat?” The good news is, there’s still plenty you can enjoy.
For folks with high blood pressure, it’s important to be cognizant of how diet will ultimately lower, or contribute, to their high blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) says, “Eating a heart-healthy diet is important for managing your blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health threats.”
We’ve done some digging, and have found 25 foods that will help keep that BP number where it needs to be. Check it out.
Fruits and vegetables
You can’t go wrong with fruits and vegetables, no matter how healthy you are. But you may not know the reasons why these foods are key for a heart-healthy diet. As it turns out, foods high in potassium help manage high blood pressure because it helps minimize the impact sodium has. When you consume lots of potassium, found in many fruits and veggies, your body is able to get rid of more sodium through your urine. Here are 11 fruits and veggies you should add to your grocery list right now.
- Apricots and apricot juice
- Cantaloupe and honeydew melon
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice (be sure to discuss this with your doctor if you’re on a cholesterol-lowering drug)
- Oranges and orange juice
- Prunes and prune juice
- Raisins and dates
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
By now most people know they shouldn’t be eating white bread and that whole-wheat or whole-grain options are better. Registered dietitian Keri Gans tells The Huffington Post going for whole grains ensures you get all the good stuff — bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been stripped of the bran and germ. Luckily, there’s a long list of whole grains to choose from, including these five.
- Brown rice
Low-fat dairy products
Unless you also happen to be lactose intolerant, you’re good to go when it comes to dairy products, so long as they’re low-fat. Some evidence indicates dairy is beneficial for lowering blood pressure, but you want to make sure you’re choosing the low-fat variety, as we know people with high blood pressure should avoid trans and saturated fats. Need more convincing? The DASH Diet, which has been praised for lowering blood pressure, encourages people to incorporate low-fat dairy products into their diets. Add these options to your cart.
- Fat-free or 1% milk
- Low-fat yogurt
Skinless poultry and fish
Everyone needs their protein, but red meat definitely isn’t the way to go if you’re trying to control your high blood pressure. Because chicken and fish contain less saturated fat, they’re good options. Plus, according to AHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This means all the following options should be on your must-eat list.
- White meat chicken
Nuts and legumes
Nuts contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats, so there’s little argument about their importance in a diet focused on lowering high blood pressure. Additionally, certain nuts could lower cholesterol, which is often a huge offender among those with high blood pressure.
Legumes aren’t half bad, either. One study examined the role these fiber-rich foods play in controlling blood pressure among patients with diabetes. In a press release, lead study author Dr. David Jenkins said legumes have a “blood pressure-lowering effect in diabetic patients.” So, go nuts with our three favorites from this category.
- Lima beans