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.
Types of food that may help include:
- fruits, such as kiwi and oranges
- vegetables, for instance, green leafy vegetables and beets
- nuts, for example, pistachios and walnuts
- oily fish, such as mackerel
- spices, such as cinnamon
This article discusses foods that can help reduce high blood pressure and provide scientific evidence.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Certain foods and overall diet
In general, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers a serving to be:
- 1 cup of cooked or raw vegetables or fruit
- 1 cup of 100% fruit juice
- 2 cups of raw leafy salad greens
- half a cup of dried fruit
For most ages, the USDA recommends consuming around 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables daily, although this varies slightly according to age and sex.
However, they emphasize that this outcome is not generalized and may depend on several factors, including study length, baseline characteristics, and dosage.
The review’s authors and other
To enjoy berries:
- eat them as a snack or sweet treat after meals
- add them to smoothies
- sprinkle them on oatmeal for breakfast
A serving of blueberries is around 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries or half a cup of dried blueberries. A serving of strawberries is around 7 strawberries.
A serving would be 1 large banana, 1 cup of sliced banana, or two-thirds of a cup of mashed banana.
According to the
Other potassium-rich foods include:
People with kidney disease should consult a doctor before increasing their potassium intake, as too much
Drinking beet juice may reduce blood pressure in the short and long term because it contains dietary nitrate.
According to a
Tips for use include:
- drinking 1 glass of beet juice per day
- adding beets to salads
- preparing beets as a side dish
A serving of beet is around 1 cup of raw, cooked, or juiced beets.
4. Dark chocolate
However, it notes that a person may not be able to consume enough flavonoids in dark chocolate to experience significant benefits.
The AHA says that a small amount of chocolate from time to time can be part of a balanced diet. It advises, however, that people eat it because they enjoy it, not for health reasons.
People who ate 2 kiwis per day before breakfast for 7 weeks had a reduction of 2.7 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) in systolic blood pressure compared to a control group.
Kiwis are easy to add to lunches or smoothies. One cup of kiwi, or 2–3 kiwifruits, makes up 1 serving.
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
People can consume watermelon:
- as juice
- in salads, including fruit salads
- in smoothies
- in a chilled watermelon soup
One serving of watermelon is 1 cup of chopped fruit or 1 slice of around 2 inches.
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.
Ways of eating oats include:
- having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast
- using rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs to give texture to burger patties
- sprinkling them on yogurt desserts
8. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are rich in nitrates, which help manage blood pressure.
Examples of leafy greens include:
To consume a daily dose of green vegetables, a person can:
- stir spinach into curries and stews
- sauté Swiss chard with garlic as a side dish
- bake a batch of kale chips
A serving of fresh leafy greens is 2 cups of fresh leaves or 1 cup of cooked leafy greens.
Garlic has antibiotic and antifungal properties, many of which may be due to its main active ingredient, allicin.
- blood pressure
- arterial stiffness
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.
10. Fermented foods
Sodium is a risk factor for high blood pressure, and
Fermented foods to add to the diet include:
Probiotic supplements are another option.
11. Lentils and other pulses
Lentils provide protein and fiber, and
People can use lentils in many ways, including:
- as an alternative to minced beef
- adding bulk to salads
- as a base for stews and soups
12. Natural yogurt
Yogurt is fermented dairy food.
The participants with high blood pressure who consumed more yogurt had lower systolic blood pressure and lower arterial pressure than those who did not.
To enjoy unsweetened yogurt:
- add 1 spoonful to a plate of stew or curry
- mix with chopped cucumber, mint, and garlic as a side dish
- use it instead of cream on fruit and desserts
- spoon it onto a combination of oatmeal, nuts, and dried fruit for breakfast
A 2018 trial suggests that daily pomegranate juice consumption may reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with diabetes. However, the authors stress the need for further research.
People can consume pomegranates whole or as juice. When buying prepackaged pomegranate juice, check to ensure that there is no added sugar.
Cinnamon may help reduce blood pressure by a modest amount, according to a
To incorporate cinnamon into the diet, a person can:
- add it to oatmeal as an alternative to sugar
- sprinkle it on freshly chopped fruit
- add it to smoothies
Several studies have found that eating nuts of various types can help manage hypertension.
A 2022 cross-sectional study also suggests that moderate nut consumption, 55–100 g daily, may help to manage hypertension in children.
Opt for unsalted nuts and:
- snack on them plain
- add them to salads
- blend them into pestos
- use them in main dishes, such as nut roast
People should not consume nuts if they have a nut allergy.
16. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits contain hesperidin, an antioxidant that may benefit heart health.
The results indicate that regularly consuming orange juice can help lower systolic blood pressure and that hesperidin contributes to this effect.
People can consume citrus fruits:
- as drinks, for example, by making orange juice or squeezing lemon into water
- whole or in fruit salads, in the case of oranges and grapefruit
- as lemon juice, squeezed on salads for flavor instead of salt
17. Oily fish
Examples of oily fish include:
- albacore tuna
Some fish contain mercury, and people should check the latest
18. Tomato extract
Tomato contains lycopene, an antioxidant that may be beneficial for heart health.
While some foods may relieve hypertension, others can increase the risk of the condition.
Decreasing salt intake
The USDA recommends limiting sodium intake to
Although moderate coffee consumption
Regular alcohol consumption can
According to a
- 12 oz of beer
- 5 oz of wine
- 1–1.5 oz of hard liquor
Processed foods may contain added salt and harmful fats. A
As well as dietary measures, the
- exercise regularly
- manage stress, such as with meditation or breathing exercises
- avoid or quit smoking
- reach or maintain a moderate body weight
- work with a doctor
Here are some questions people often ask about lowering blood pressure.
How can I lower my blood pressure immediately?
There is no way to lower blood pressure quickly at home. However, a person can follow a plan of diet, exercise, and possibly medication to lower their blood pressure over time.
If blood pressure is over
Can drinking water lower blood pressure?
According to a small
When should I contact a doctor about high blood pressure?
Optimal blood pressure is up to
Dietary and lifestyle choices can help manage high blood pressure.
A balanced diet focusing on moderate intakes of fruits, vegetables, oats, nuts, lentils, herbs, and spices can be beneficial. In contrast, excessive salt, alcohol, and processed foods may worsen hypertension.
A doctor can help someone make a plan that involves exercise, food choices, and other measures to manage high blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues.