A Healthy Diet for High Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure Chart

Maintain a Healthy Diet with High Blood Pressure

The things that you eat and drink can have a huge impact on your blood pressure. When you make healthy choices in your diet, you can better control you blood pressure. The key to start a healthy diet is to take baby steps toward improvement. Start by making one diet change at a time. Once you’ve managed the first change, you can add on another diet change.

Which Foods Should I Eat?

Eat heart-healthy foods, like the ones below to control blood pressure:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains (e.g., whole wheat, brown rice, oats or barley)
  • Fat-free or low-fat (1% or less) dairy products
  • Lean meats (e.g., skinless turkey, chicken or fish)
  • Nuts, seeds, beans and peas
  • Healthy vegetables oils (e.g., canola, olive or corn oil)

Which Foods Should I Limit?

Limit the foods below to avoid high blood pressure:

  • Foods high in saturated fat (e.g., fatty cuts of beef, pork or lamb)
  • Pre-packaged, processed and prepared foods
  • Foods with added sugar (e.g., beverages, desserts or snacks)
  • Foods with added sodium (salt), such as:
    • Breads and rolls
    • Cold-cut/cured meats (e.g., ham, bacon or beef jerky)
    • Pizza and fast food

The American Heart Association (AHA) says that we shouldn’t consume any more than 2300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. Adults with high blood pressure should aim to consume no more than 1500 mg of sodium a day, especially because too much sodium increases blood pressure in many people. That’s why it’s so important to follow the guidelines above to maintain a healthy diet.

Can I Still Drink Alcohol?

While you can still enjoy a drink here and there, drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. The AHA recommends that if you drink, you should limit yourself to:

  • No more than two drinks per day in you’re a man
  • No more than one drink per day if you’re a woman

Below are some examples of what could count as one drink:

  • 12 oz. can of beer
  • 4 oz. glass of wine
  • 1.5 oz. shot of 80-proof liquor
  • 1 oz. shot of 100-proof liquor

Health Sources:

American Hearth Association (AHA). Changes you can make to manage high blood pressure.