HEART HEALTH

By Paige Green, Hy-Vee Dietitian on Friday, January 1, 2021


4 foods that fight high blood pressure

If high blood pressure has you down, do yourself (and your heart) a favor and fight for better readings. According to the American Heart Association, almost half of American adults live with this condition, yet don’t even know it.

A reading of 130/80 and higher is considered elevated, and since symptoms can be silent, it’s often left untreated. In turn, this can cause severe damage to our circulatory systems and lead to serious issues, such as a heart attack or stroke. 

blood pressure

Many of us can bring our blood pressure within a healthy range without conforming to a boring diet. Remove the images of unseasoned egg whites and limp steamed veggies from your mind. Bringing your blood pressure into a healthy range is more than just doable – it’s downright delicious!

Fortunately, some of the most flavorful foods that regulate a healthy blood pressure are filled with cold-fighting vitamins and great for weight management, too. Let’s break it down:

1. Fish

Most high-fat foods won’t make the blood pressure fighting meal plan, yet fatty fish, like salmon, is a major exception to that rule. Loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fats, salmon has been shown to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure, making this lean source of protein a must-eat for anyone who has seen blood pressure creep up into a concerning range. Aim for two servings of seafood per week, or ask a Hy-Vee dietitian for help in selecting a suitable supplement.

RECIPE: Citrus-Baked Salmon

2. Potatoes

Put spuds on your grocery list and lower your blood pressure at the same time. Both white and sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium – a triple threat in fighting hypertension. Need a quick cooking tip? Poke a potato with a fork and microwave for seven minutes. Serve with a lean piece of protein and a side of veggies for a delicious, nutritious dinner that will make not only your tummy happy, but your heart, too.

RECIPE: Spiralized Sweet Potato Enchilada Skillet

3. Fruit

Replace those sugar-heavy treats for a naturally sweet pick, like fruit, and watch your blood pressure fall into doctor-approved territory. Snack smarter by choosing a high-fibrous fruit such as cherries, citrus, apples or strawberries, and lower your readings – and your chances of a sugar crash – in one fell swoop.  

RECIPE: Winter Fruit Salad

4. Leafy Greens

Make like Popeye and add spinach to your daily routine to blast your blood pressure numbers back to normal. Spinach is one of the easiest foods to “sneak” into every dish. From smoothies to eggs to casseroles and sauces, this green produce pick should be a go-to for even the pickiest of palates. With an ample amount of potassium, folate and magnesium packed within its leaves, it’s a recipe for success when spinach makes the plate.  

RECIPE: 'Skinny' Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed with this condition or are just being proactive, keep in mind the importance that diet plays in managing high blood pressure. Colorful produce, fewer salty snacks, and more filling fibrous foods make for a tasty day. In turn, you’ll be pleased with your blood pressure numbers.


paigePaige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Ames Hy-Vee on Lincoln Way.