Fruits That Raise Blood Pressure are With a wide array of vitamins and nutrients that can lower blood pressure, fruit is a great food to incorporate into your daily diet. Infused with potassium, selenium, vitamin C and antioxidants – fruits contain substances that might help to reduce blood pressure levels naturally. Some fruits have been proven to have beneficial effects upon the cardiovascular system – such as those that are rich in potassium and low in sodium.
Eating with High Blood Pressure: Foods and Drinks to Avoid
Diet can have a big impact on your blood pressure, which is the force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 47 percentTrusted Source of U.S. adults. Hypertension can cause health problems over time, including heart disease and stroke.
Salty foods in particular can cause high blood pressure. When you eat salt, your body retains more fluids, raising your blood volume and pressure. Sugary foods and foods high in saturated fats can also increase blood pressure.
On the other hand, eating a heart-healthy diet can help you reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, the American Heart Association (AHA)Trusted Source advises eating plenty of:
- lean protein
- whole grains
At the same time, the AHA recommends limiting foods that can keep your blood pressure elevated, such as:
- red meat
- salt (sodium)
- foods and drinks that contain added sugars
One heart-healthy eating plan is the DASH diet, which the AHATrusted Source recommends to help manage blood pressure. DASH stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension” and was created in the 1990sTrusted Source.
The diet aims to include 4,700 milligrams (mg)Trusted Source of potassium daily while reducing sodium, which helps lower blood pressure. Studies indicate that the diet is effective, with a 2020 research review finding that it reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension as well as in those without the condition.
The DASH diet involves eating:
- fruits, such as apples, bananas, and strawberries
- vegetables, such as broccoli, green beans, and carrots
- nuts, such as almonds and walnuts
- legumes and seeds, such as kidney beans, lentils, and sunflower seeds
- whole grains, such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and oatmeal
- low fat dairy, such as fat-free milk and reduced fat cheese
- lean protein, such as skinless chicken or fish
The number of servings of each food depends on your daily calorie requirements.
On the other hand, the plan limits:
- foods high in saturated fats, such as fatty meats and palm oil
- sugar-sweetened beverages
- sugary foods, such as maple syrup, candy, and jelly
It also sets a maximum intake of 2,300 mgTrusted Source of sodium per day.
Foods to avoid
Whether or not you follow a particular diet, certain foods and ingredients may raise your blood pressure or help keep it high. Limiting these foods may help manage your blood pressure.
Salt or sodium
Salt, or specifically the sodium in salt, is a major contributorTrusted Source to high blood pressure and heart disease. This is because of how it affects fluid balance in the blood.
Table salt is around 40 percent sodium. Some amount of salt is important for health, but it’s easy to eat too much. The AHATrusted Source recommends getting no more than 2,300 mg of sodium — the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of salt — each day.
Most of the sodium in the American diet comes from packaged, processed food rather than what you add at the table. Sodium may be hidden in unexpected places.
The following foods, known as the “salty six,” are major contributorsTrusted Source to people’s daily salt intake:
- breads and rolls
- cold cuts and cured meats
- burritos and tacos
Processed deli and lunch meats are often packed with sodium. That’s because manufacturers cure, season, and preserve these meats with salt.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) database, just two slices of bologna contain 910 mgTrusted Source of sodium. One frankfurter, or hot dog, contains 567 mgTrusted Source.
Adding other high salt foods, such as bread, cheese, various condiments, and pickles, means that a sandwich can easily become very high in sodium.
The combination of ingredients in frozen pizzas means they’re high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. Frozen pizza can have especially high levels of sodium.
Cheese is often high in sodium. Just two slices of American cheese contain 512 mgTrusted Source of sodium. This is generally in combination with a salty or sugary pizza dough and crust, cured meats, and tomato sauce.
To maintain flavor in the pizza once it’s been cooked, manufacturers often add a lot of salt.
One 12-inch pepperoni pizza, cooked from frozen, contains 3,140 mgTrusted Source of sodium, which is well above the daily limit of 2,300 mg.
As a substitute, try making pizza at home, using homemade dough, low sodium cheese, and your favorite vegetables as toppings.
Preserving any food requires salt. It stops the food from decaying and keeps it edible for longer.
The longer vegetables sit in canning and preserving liquids, the more sodium they pick up.
One small pickled cucumber contains 448 mgTrusted Source of sodium.
That said, reduced sodium options are available.
Canned soups are simple and easy to prepare, especially when you’re crunched for time or not feeling well.
However, canned soups are high in sodium. Canned and packaged broths and stocks may contain similar amounts. This means they can elevate your blood pressure.
One can of tomato soup contains 1,110 mgTrusted Source of sodium, while a can of chicken and vegetable soup contains 2,140 mgTrusted Source.
Try choosing low or reduced sodium soups instead, or make your own soup at home from fresh ingredients.
Canned tomato products
Most canned tomato sauces, pasta sauces, and tomato juices are high in sodium. This means they can raise your blood pressure, especially if you already have high blood pressure.
One serving (135 grams) of marinara sauce contains 566 mgTrusted Source of sodium. One cup of tomato juice contains 615 mgTrusted Source.
You can find low or reduced sodium versions for most tomato products.
To lower your blood pressure, choose these alternatives or use fresh tomatoes, which are rich in an antioxidant called lycopene. Fresh vegetables have many heart-healthy benefits.
Sugar can increase your blood pressure in several ways.
Research indicates that sugar — and especially sugar-sweetened drinks — contributes to weight gain in adults and children. Overweight and obesity increases the chanceTrusted Source of having high blood pressure.
Added sugar may also have a direct effect on increasing blood pressure, though more research is needed.
One 2019 study in females with high blood pressure reported that decreasing sugar by 2.3 teaspoons could result in an 8.4 mm Hg drop in systolic and a 3.7 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure.
The AHATrusted Source recommends the following daily added sugar limits:
- 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams, for females
- 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams, for males
Processed foods with trans or saturated fat
To keep the heart healthy, it’s best to reduce saturated fats and avoid trans fats. This is especially true for people with high blood pressure.
Trans fats are artificial fats that increase packaged foods’ shelf life and stability.
However, eating them raisesTrusted Source LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of hypertension.
Saturated fats also increaseTrusted Source the levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Trans fats are especially harmful for your health and are linked toTrusted Source poor heart health, including an increased risk of:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
Packaged, pre-prepared foods often contain trans fats and saturated fats, alongside high amounts of sugar, sodium, and low fiber carbohydrates.
Saturated fats are mostly found in animal products, including:
- full fat milk and cream
- red meat
- chicken skin
The AHATrusted Source recommends reducing intake of both saturated and trans fats to help keep the heart healthy.
One way to reduce your saturated fat intake is to replace some animal foods with plant-based alternatives.
Many plant-based foods contain healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Examples of plant-based foods include:
- olive oil
According to a 2015 studyTrusted Source, full fat dairy doesn’t raise blood pressure.
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor might recommend that you reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. Research from 2017 found a link between drinking less alcohol and lowering blood pressure among people who usually had more than two drinks each day.
In people who do not have hypertension, limiting alcohol intake may help reduce their risk of developing high blood pressure.
Alcohol can also preventTrusted Source blood pressure medications that you may be taking from working effectively through drug interactions.
In addition, many alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and calories. Drinking alcohol can contributeTrusted Source to overweight and obesity, which can increase the risk of hypertension.
If you drink, the AHATrusted Source recommends limiting your alcohol intake to two drinks per day for males and one drink per day for females.
If cutting back on alcohol is difficult, speak with a doctor for advice.
How To Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet
Many diets are very specific about what you can’t eat. However, the most powerful (and empowering) diets help you focus instead on what you can and should eat. In fact, research shows that adding certain foods to your diet is just as important as cutting back on others.
That especially holds true for a heart-healthy diet.
The connection between nutrition and your heart
Good nutrition and a healthy heart go hand in hand. For example, following a heart-healthy diet can help reduce your total cholesterol and bad (or LDL) cholesterol, lower your blood sugars and triglycerides, and decrease your blood pressure. For instance, potassium — which is found in many fruits and vegetables — can help lower your blood pressure.
Even more importantly, making good diet choices can also address risk factors for heart disease and heart-related conditions. That means eating healthier foods can reduce or even eliminate the chance you’ll develop certain health issues down the line.
What to eat and avoid with a heart-healthy diet
According to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Lifestyle Management Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease (2019), a heart-healthy diet focuses on:
- Whole grains.
- Lean animal protein.
Heart-healthy diets should avoid:
- Trans fats.
- Saturated fats.
- Red meat (beef, pork, veal and lamb).
- Processed meats (hot dogs, salami, pepperoni, bologna).
- Refined carbohydrates (white breads, crackers, salty snack foods, baked goods).
- Sweetened beverages (such as soda).
However, moderation is key. It can be difficult to eliminate some of these things from your diet completely, so don’t feel guilty about occasionally having a small serving of an unhealthy indulgence. The trick is to keep the portion small.
In contrast, you shouldn’t overdo it on some recommended healthy foods either. For example, registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, notes you should limit fish that’s high in mercury, like albacore tuna, swordfish and king mackerel, to 6 ounces a week.
Heart-healthy nutrition tips
It can be overwhelming knowing what to eat (and how much to eat) to be healthy. Zumpano offers some tips on how to put together a balanced, heart-friendly diet.
Increase your fruits and vegetables intake
Your parents were right: Eat your fruits and veggies! These provide a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber — all things known to help prevent disease. If you have high blood pressure, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains is especially recommended.
Zumpano says to aim for a combined seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day: roughly 4 or greater for vegetables and two to four for fruit. If you don’t reach recommended serving sizes in a given day, don’t worry. It’s more about what your overall diet looks like in a week, so just load up on veggies or fruits in the following days.
One serving of fruit is equal to:
- 1 medium-sized piece of fresh fruit.
- 1/2 medium banana.
- 1/2 grapefruit.
- 1/4 cup dried fruit.
- 1/2 cup canned fruit (avoid heavy syrup and instead choose fruit water or in own juice).
- 4 ounces 100% fruit juice (avoid sweetened juice).
One serving of vegetables is equal to:
- 2 cups raw leafy salad greens.
- 1 cup of cut-up veggies.
- 1 cup 100% vegetable juice.
How to increase fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Buy pre-cut vegetables and fruit (fresh or frozen), and then bag them up for a snack or to add to a dish.
- Have a vegetable-based soup or garden salad with light dressing with your usual sandwich at lunch.
- Instead of a cookie, enjoy frozen banana slices topped with natural peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips or frozen grapes dipped in 1 teaspoon of chocolate syrup.
- Keep fresh fruit on your desk or workspace.
- If you think you’ll be missing a meal, bring a homemade trail mix of your choice of 2 tablespoons dried fruit and 2 tablespoons roasted nuts and/or seeds along with you.
- Make a fruit and veggie smoothie with produce that needs to be eaten quickly.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
Where fruits and veggies are concerned, variety is the spice of a healthy life. Choosing food in a rainbow of colors ensures you’ll ingest a diverse array of nutrients. Eat carrots and oranges; tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries; plums and eggplant; blueberries and blackberries: green grapes, celery, spinach and kiwi; and yellow peppers and bananas.
Decrease saturated fats and trans fats
We all need fat in our diet, but not all fat is created equally. Trans fats and saturated fats are so-called bad fats. These raise your LDL (or bad) cholesterol, the kind that encourages plaque build-up in your arteries (that waxy substance). Red meat is high in saturated fat, as are certain kinds of cheese.
A better choice is consuming good fats, or monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You’ll find these in nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, flaxseed, soy and fatty fish.
- Prepare your food with cooking oils such as olive oil or avocado oil, both of which contain healthier fats.
- Eat two to three meatless meals weekly — try split pea soup, garbanzo bean salad, bean-based meatless burgers or tofu stir-fry.
- Eat two skinless poultry meals each week.
- Limit red meat to no more than one meal per week. Choose the leanest cuts of meat possible with skin and visible fat removed. Where possible, replace red meat with seafood or skinless poultry.
- Eat omega-3-rich fish at least two to three times per week This includes cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, sardines and herring.
- Include plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids — like chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds — on a daily basis by adding to meals such as oatmeal, soup, yogurt, smoothies or salads.
Substitute animal protein with plant protein
Animal proteins are the kind of protein found in beef, pork, lamb, poultry and eggs, as well as cheeses and yogurt. Although the American Heart Association recommends you eat 5.5 ounces of protein per day, the kind of protein you eat matters.
For example, animal protein often means you’re ingesting higher amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat— both of which contribute to weight gain and an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Luckily, there’s a solution. In addition to eating more veggies, you should eat more plant-based proteins. These are proteins found in food such as legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils) nuts and seeds. The American Heart Association recommends you eat minimally 5 ounces of plant protein per week.
An easy way to eat more plant-based protein is meatless meals. There are plenty of tasty recipes that provide good sources of protein but that also provide heart-friendly ingredients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
One ounce of protein is equal to:
- 1/2 cup cooked beans, peas or lentils.
- 1/3 cup or 3 ounces tofu.
- 1 ounce nuts or seeds or 2 tablespoon peanut butter.
- 1 ounce cooked seafood, meat or poultry.
- One egg or two egg whites.
High Blood Pressure: 4 Foods to Eat
The right foods can help lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Dietetics Department shares the types of foods that should be on your plate.
HIGH FIBRE FOODSsuch as fresh vegetables and fruits are effective in keeping blood pressure under control. The Health Promotion Board recommends consuming a minimum of 2 + 2 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
Continued from previous page.
Mr Gary Chiah, Senior Dietitian at the Department of Dietetics, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group shares tips on the best foods to lower high blood pressure.
- More fibre
High blood pressure can be kept under control with fresh vegetables and fruits. HPB recommends a minimum of 2 + 2 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. One serving of fruit is equivalent to one small fruit, 1 medium banana, 10 grapes or ¼ cup of dried fruits. One serving of vegetables is 100 g (or ¾ of a mug) of cooked vegetables.
- Consume more magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium can help in lowering high blood pressure. Green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts (e.g. almonds, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds) are good sources of magnesium. Seeds and nuts also contain heart-healthy fats. It is unnecessary to take additional magnesium supplements. Just be sure to include magnesium-rich foods in your meals.
- Whole grains
People with high blood pressure should eat more whole grain foods as they contain fibre, potassium and magnesium. Substitute white rice and refined noodles with whole grain products like brown rice and whole wheat noodles.
- Eat more potassium-rich foods
When you have high blood pressure, make sure you eat sufficient fruits and vegetables as they are rich in potassium. For vegetables, you could choose peas, greens, tomatoes, spinach and potatoes. Fruits such as bananas and oranges and dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, prunes and dates are also high in potassium. Remember to get your potassium from food, not supplements, to avoid any risk of overdose.