Research has shown that certain foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and oily fish can help lower blood pressure. Combining these foods in the diet may lead to long-term health benefits.
Medications, dietary changes, and other lifestyle modifications can reduce high blood pressure, or hypertension, while lowering the likelihood of developing associated conditions. High blood pressure increases a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
Certain foods and overall diet can help people manage blood pressure.
Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid.
A 2019 review suggests consistent findings to support the theory that anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich berries can lower blood pressure.
However, they emphasize that this outcome is not generalized and may depend on several factors, including study length, baseline characteristics, and dosage.
Bananas contain potassium, which can help manage hypertension. One medium-sized banana contains around 422 milligrams (mg) of potassium.
A serving would be 1 large banana, 1 cup of sliced banana, or two-thirds of a cup of mashed banana.
According to study, potassium reduces the effects of sodium and alleviates tension in the walls of the blood vessels.
Drinking beet juice may reduce blood pressure in the short and long term because it contains dietary nitrate.
According to a 2022 systematic review, research shows that nitrate from beetroot juice lowers systolic blood pressure in people with arterial hypertension but does not affect diastolic blood pressure.
Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline. The body converts citrulline to arginine, and this helps the body produce nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes blood vessels and encourages flexibility in arteries. These effects aid blood flow, which can lower high blood pressure.
A small 2023 controlled crossover trial looked at the effects of watermelon juice on blood pressure in young, healthy adults. They found that watermelon juice lowered systolic blood pressure over two hours.
Similarly, a 2023 meta-analysis suggests research up to 2021 supports watermelon’s blood pressure-lowering effects. However, the authors highlight the need for more trials with larger sample sizes.
In a small 2019 study, 27 people consumed either watermelon juice or another drink before exercise. The females who drank watermelon juice did not experience a rise in blood pressure after exercise, although the males did.
One serving of watermelon is 1 cup of chopped fruit or 1 slice of around 2 inches.
Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which may benefit heart health, including blood pressure.
A 2020 rodent study found that beta-glucan and avenanthramide C, both present in oats, reduce levels of malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidative stress in hypertensive rats.
These results suggest that ingredients present in oats can help prevent high blood pressure and protect heart health in other ways. However, further research on human subjects is necessary.
Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are rich in nitrates, which help manage blood pressure.
Research from 2021 suggests that eating at least 1 cup of green leafy vegetables daily can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Garlic has antibiotic and antifungal properties, many of which may be due to its main active ingredient, allicin.
Garlic can enhance the flavor of many savory meals, including stir-fries, soups, and omelets. It can also be an alternative to salt as a flavoring.
Yogurt is fermented dairy food. A 2021 study looked at data for people with and without high blood pressure to see whether there was a link between fermented dairy products and hypertension.
The participants with high blood pressure who consumed more yogurt had lower systolic blood pressure and lower arterial pressure than those who did not.