Heart Health

Eat These 10 Totally Normal Foods To Lower Your Blood Pressure

Many of them are tasty additions to a smoothie or salad.

by Adam Meyer
A man drinking a smoothie to lower his blood pressure.

There’s a lot to be concerned with when it comes to your health, but some issues are much more prevalent — and dangerous — than others. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of those health problems that is a serious concern, affecting millions of men worldwide. High blood pressure is strongly linked to heart disease (the number one cause of death, globally), stroke, and kidney problems. And although several risk factors, including genetics and not getting enough exercise, can contribute to hypertension, your diet is crucial in managing and lowering blood pressure levels.

Fortunately, incorporating specific foods into your diet can help keep high blood pressure at bay and boost your overall heart health. The following common foods have been scientifically linked to lowering blood pressure, making them essential additions to any health-conscious man's menu. These foods are tasty and easy to add into your diet, so when you need a snack or are meal prepping, keep these 10 foods for lowering blood pressure in mind.

1. Bananas

Bananas are rich in potassium, which counterbalances the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium in the body. According to the Harvard Medical School, bananas’ high potassium content can help relax blood vessel walls, thus lowering blood pressure levels. Additionally, a 2017 meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials found that potassium supplementation is linked to significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Bananas are great as a standalone snack or whipped up with a bit of milk or your favorite milk alternative to make a creamy ice cream.

2. Spinach

This leafy green isn't just for Popeye; it's a fantastic addition to your diet if you want to manage blood pressure. Spinach is loaded with essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which work together to support healthy blood pressure levels. And according to a 2015 study published in Clinical Nutrition Research, the nitrates found in spinach can help lower blood pressure by reducing arterial stiffness. Whether you add spinach to salads or smoothies, or sauté it as a side dish, your heart will thank you.

3. Oats

Time to swap sugary cereal for heart-healthy oats topped with fresh fruit and nuts. Oats are a rich source of soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels and subsequently reduces blood pressure. A 2022 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics concluded that oats are a fantastic whole grain for lowering systolic blood pressure.

4. Salmon

For the seafood lovers out there, eating salmon offers a natural way to help manage blood pressure. This fatty fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help regulate blood pressure regulation. According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Hypertension, consuming omega-3 fatty acids regularly resulted in small but clinically relevant reductions in blood pressure.

5. Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries aren't just sweet treats; they’re also a treasure trove of antioxidants and flavonoids that promote heart health. According to research published in Nutrients, regular berry consumption is associated with lower blood pressure levels. Add berries to your smoothies, use them as toppings on your morning oats, or enjoy them on their own as a snack.

6. Legumes

Legumes — such as kidney beans, black beans, peanuts, peas, and lentils — are excellent sources of plant-based protein and fiber. They’re also rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, making them an ideal addition to a blood pressure-friendly diet. A 2022 study published in Nutrients found that diets rich in legumes were linked with reduced blood pressure levels. Get your legume fix by adding beans or lentils to soups, salads, and stews for a heart-healthy boost, or have a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread.

7. Almonds

Packed with unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber, almonds have been linked to improved heart health and blood pressure regulation. According to a 2018 study, incorporating almonds into your diet can significantly improve blood pressure levels. The study also found reductions in waist circumference and body mass index (BMI), two significant risk factors for hypertension.

8. Plain Yogurt

Plain yogurt, particularly low-fat or non-fat yogurt, is an excellent choice for those looking to support their heart health. High in calcium and probiotics, several studies have found a link between eating yogurt and lower blood pressure levels, and the Journal of Hypertension published a study that found regular yogurt consumption reduces the risk of high blood pressure in middle-aged to older adult men specifically.

9. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber, all of which contribute to heart health. According to a 2019 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, potassium intake from sweet potatoes helps reduce blood pressure levels. High sweet potato consumption was also associated with a lower risk of chronic disease, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers.

10. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate, in moderation, can contribute to a heart-healthy diet. Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavonoids, which can improve blood vessel dilation and reduce blood pressure. A review published in the journal Current Research in Food Science concluded that dark chocolate significantly lowered blood pressure levels. However, not all dark chocolate is created equal. Choose dark chocolate with at least 80% cocoa content and enjoy a square as an occasional treat.