Foods that lower blood pressure

Foods that lower blood pressure


Factors affecting blood pressure

Blood pressure is a very important metabolic parameter; outside the normal range (about 70-80 mmHg minimum on 110-120 mmHg maximum) can in fact compromise the state of health.

If the tendency to low blood pressure (in the paraphysiological field) is simply a risk factor for sudden faints and subsequent bruises or other related accidents, high blood pressure increases the chances of disabling or fatal cardio- and cerebro-vascular events.

If we exclude serious genetic factors, we find that diet , body composition , level of physical activity and emotional state are the most important variables in blood pressure regulation.

In this article we will analyze the different foods that, although with different mechanisms, tend to reduce or normalize blood pressure.

How they act

What are the pressure reducing mechanisms?

Foods can help lower blood pressure through several mechanisms:

  • Direct intervention on blood pressure regulation
  • Diuretics
  • Low in sodium (predisposing factor for primary sodium-sensitive hypertension)
  • High in potassium , magnesium and calcium (which counteract blood sodium levels and help normalize high blood pressure)
  • Without stimulating molecules (which tend to increase blood pressure)
  • Promote weight loss
  • Free of saturated and hydrogenated fatty acids , and rich in fiber *

What foods to choose

Foods that intervene on pressure regulation

There are some food products which, albeit in different ways, act directly on the pressure regulation mechanisms.


The most famous are the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega 3 group ; the essential one is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but its derivatives eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have greater metabolic efficacy.

ALA is abundant in the germ of some starchy seeds and in certain oil seeds ( chia , perilla , kiwi , etc.); the oils that are obtained from it are very concentrated.

EPA and DHA are found in considerable quantities in fish from cold seas ( cod , salmon, etc.), in oily fish ( sardines , mackerel , bonito , etc.), in algae , in krill and in the liver of the aforementioned fish.


The most famous are garlic and onion which – thanks to their ability to induce vasodilation – are today considered an integral part of food therapy against hypertension .

Diuretic foods

By increasing renal filtration, the excretion of water , but also of mineral salts, is promoted . For those who make an excessive use of table salt , this mechanism is very useful, as it promotes the excretion of sodium (which we know is a predisposing factor for primary sodium-sensitive hypertension).

Water, drinks and foods with a high water content are diuretics. Above all, products which, in addition to being rich in water, contain nutritional factors which promote renal filtration have a marked diuretic function. These are mainly foods of plant origin such as: pineapple , cucumber , artichoke , onion, fennel , apple and dandelion .

Low sodium foods

Excess sodium, we repeat once again, is a predisposing factor for sodium-sensitive primary arterial hypertension . This is why table salt , which contains a very high percentage of sodium, is a bad ally for the health of the vascular system.
More than specific foods, the low-sodium food category is about how they are stored, cooked , and consumed. All fresh foods (with the sole exception of bivalve molluscs such as mussels and clams ) or frozen foods have a low sodium content ; on the contrary, foods preserved in salt and in brine are richand, more generally, in a jar (also in oil and in vinegar ).

Taking a practical example, the consumption of tuna should preferably be oriented towards fresh or frozen slices, rather than canned ones. Or, among milk derivatives , it is advisable to prefer yoghurt , ricotta and soft cheeses instead of aged ones. Again, in the context of meat , it is advisable to avoid cured meats , instead increasing fresh ones such as steaks.
Furthermore, it is good practice to avoid adding table salt during cooking or directly to the dish, eliminating the so-called discretionary salt.

Foods high in potassium, magnesium and calcium

Like sodium, potassium , magnesium , and calcium are also positively charged and are termed cations. By increasing their consumption (within reasonable limits), even if they occupy different spaces in the body, they favor the renal excretion of sodium to the advantage of blood pressure.

In particular, the increase in potassium is related to a positive modulation of the arterial pressure balance, making it a real remedy against hypertension (provided the kidneys are perfectly healthy).

The foods richest in magnesium and potassium are: fresh vegetables and fruits ( tomatoes , aubergines , cucumbers, watermelon , courgettes , pumpkin , lettuce , radicchio , melon , peaches , apricots , etc.), legumes ( beans , chickpeas , lentils , broad beans , etc.) , whole grains ( wheat , spelled , barleyetc) and other starchy seeds (pseudocereals such as quinoa , amaranth etc ).

Foods rich in calcium are instead: milk and fresh derivatives (better lean and unsalted); marginally, you can also increase the intake of oily seeds such as walnuts , almonds or fortified products (such as calcium-fortified soy milk ).

Foods without stimulant molecules

They are not part of any fundamental food group, which means they are not essential to the diet. They can be completely excluded from the diet without running the risk of nutritional deficiencies , but nevertheless many people, due to habit, cannot do without them.

We are talking about drinks rich in nervine such as: coffee , tea , cocoa , ginseng , guarana , such as cola , energy drinks , etc.; the same goes for chocolate .

Since stimulants have a counterproductive effect on blood pressure, it is advisable to choose decaffeinated coffee , decaffeinated tea, caffeine -free cola , etc.

Foods that promote weight loss

It is an absolutely generic definition, which includes all the typical foods of a diet calibrated for weight loss:

  • Low caloric density , therefore low energy
  • Low in fat or, if beneficial (such as oilseeds), in adequate portions
  • Low load and glycemic index
  • Rich in fiber.

Note : it is also essential to calculate the right portions and consume them with an adequate frequency.

Foods without saturated and hydrogenated fats, and rich in fiber

*The correlation between saturated and/or hydrogenated fatty acids, fiber and hypertension is, for the moment, only of a statistical nature. There is no biochemical explanation and the reason for this link is assumed to be multifactorial. In fact, foods rich in saturated fatty acids are mostly high in calories (obesity is the main cause of hypertension) and large sources of sodium (a mineral harmful to blood pressure); on the contrary, those rich in fiber are less energetic, have a lower load and glycemic index , and abound in useful mineral salts such as magnesium.

It is therefore necessary to avoid junk foods such as packaged snacks and fast food , but also cured meats and fatty cheeses, favoring fresh, unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Instead of refined starchy foods, such as white bread and pasta , it is recommended that you choose whole foods .



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