The 9 Best Foods for Lowering Blood Pressure—Including One Fruit You Should Never, Ever Skip

Foods to lower blood pressure

Having high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease. If that wasn’t alarming enough, roughly half of Americans currently have high blood pressure. Fortunately, it’s possible to lower blood pressure (and prevent it from rising to unhealthy levels in the first place) through diet and lifestyle habits.

If you want to eat food to lower blood pressure, bring this registered dietitian-approved list with you next time you go grocery shopping. Listed are a wide range of foods foods for high blood pressure, including one fruit so beneficial it’s worth eating every day.

Related: 7 Tricks to Tame Your Blood Pressure Quickly

The Number One Fruit for Lowering Blood Pressure

There’s one fruit that’s particularly beneficial for lowering blood pressure and you might even already have it in your kitchen: bananas. “Bananas are a good source of potassium, which helps balance sodium levels. Potassium can help the blood vessels dilate and relax, which then can lower blood pressure,” explains Stacy Roberts-Davis, RD, a registered dietitian and the president of Flavorful Nutrition.

Kristi Ruth, RDN, a registered dietitian and creator of Carrots & Cookies, adds to this, saying, “Bananas are an excellent source of potassium which helps balance out sodium intake and they are also a good source of fiber, which has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, including lowering blood pressure.”

Scientific studies back this up, showing that regularly eating bananas is linked to lowering blood pressure. In fact, a diet generally high in fruits and vegetables is linked to reducing the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure).

Of course, no one can just eat bananas. Keep reading for eight other foods that can help lower blood pressure naturally.

Related: The #1 Change I Noticed When I Ate a Banana Every Day for a Week 

8 Best Foods to Lower Blood Pressure

Here are eight more foods that can make a big difference.

1. Berries

Besides bananas, Roberts-Davis says that another fruit that can help lower blood pressure is berries. This is because berries contain anthocyanins (pigments found in blue, red and purple fruits and vegetables), which help endothelial cells function better in the body. Endothelial cells are found inside blood vessels and help with blood flow, including blood pressure regulation.

2. Leafy greens

Every time you have a salad for lunch or dinner, rest assured that you are helping to lower your blood pressure. Roberts-Davis says leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, romaine, collard greens and bok choy) are another great food for lowering blood pressure. This is because leafy greens contain nitrate, which is connected to supporting cardiovascular health.

Related: All Hail Kale! 21 Ways to Enjoy More Leafy Greens in Your Daily Diet

3. Garlic

Roberts-Davis says that seasoning your food with garlic is one easy (and delicious) way to lower blood pressure naturally. Garlic supplements can also lower blood pressure too, although they won’t be as tasty.

4. Beans

“Beans are high in fiber, potassium and magnesium which can also help reduce sodium retention,” Roberts-Davis says. Sodium retention increases blood pressure because it causes water retention, which puts extra pressure on the kidneys which, in turn, increases blood pressure.

5. Tofu

Roberts-Davis says that another plant-based protein that can help lower blood pressure is soy-based foods like tofu, seitan and edamame. “This is because soy is low in fat while high in potassium and magnesium,” she says, name-checking two nutrients connected to keeping blood pressure at healthy levels.

6. Fatty fish

Salmon, tuna, anchovies and mackerel are all examples of fatty fish that Roberts-Davis says can help keep blood pressure levels from rising. This is because these types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps lower blood pressure.

7. Beets

Similar to leafy greens, Roberts-Davis says that beets contain nitrates, which the body turns into nitric acid. Nitric acid helps relax and widen arteries, making it crucial for blood vessel health.

8. Dark chocolate

If you have a sweet tooth, satisfying your craving with dark chocolate can work in your favor. Roberts-Davis says it helps lower blood pressure because it’s high in flavonoids, which are connected to preventing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.

Foods to Avoid for High Blood Pressure

Knowing what foods can raise blood pressure is just as important as knowing what foods can lower it. Both dietitians emphasize that, when it comes to diet and blood pressure, what’s most important is to minimize foods high in sodium, such as canned soups, deli meat and chips. This is because, as explained earlier, sodium increases water retention, which can cause blood pressure to rise.

Ruth emphasizes that habits outside of how you eat are important too. She says that exercising regularly, getting good sleep and finding healthy ways to manage stress are also important. For some people, medication can play a role in managing blood pressure.

When managing blood pressure, it’s important to consider your diet and lifestyle habits as a whole; one food can’t cancel out living in an unhealthy way the rest of the day. But it’s also important to acknowledge the power food can have in lowering blood pressure. Prioritize the foods on this list and you’ll be going a long way in preventing high blood pressure.

Next up, find out the best way to lower your blood pressure if you're 50 or older.