I am
Five foods to help lower blood pressure
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Five foods to help lower blood pressure

One the easiest steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure is choosing healthy foods.

3 min read

High blood pressure is a health issue that affects both young and old Australians alike, with close to 6 million Australians (34%) aged 18 years and over with high blood pressure.

Alarmingly it’s one of the leading risk factors for death and disability in Australia, as well as across the world.

One the easiest steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure is choosing healthy foods.

The foods we choose every day are important for our heart health. Research into high blood pressure shows us that the foods we consume can help to lower and manage high blood pressure.

But don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy lifting and read the research, all you need to do is read on. The following foods are your best bets in beating high blood pressure– based on the science.

Vegetables

While research on beetroots and high blood pressure has got a lot of coverage lately, don’t think that beetroot is the only vegetable of importance. Regularly having 4-5 serves of vegetables is linked to a lower risk of high blood pressure. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating pattern, people who ate more vegetables and fruit compared to their regular diet (which was probably low in these natural superfoods) had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t.

Choose a variety of fruit and vegetables. The different colours offer different healthy nutrients. Read here for more information on what a serve is and ways to get more vegetables in your day

Fruit

After reading about vegetables, it’s no surprise their partner fruit features in a healthy eating pattern for managing high blood pressure. Like vegetables, fruit is a rich source of potassium, magnesium and fibre.

Include a handful of frozen and washed berries on your yoghurt or a piece of fruit with nuts as a 3pm pick me up.

Fresh, frozen, canned fruit and vegetables all count towards your daily amount. Frozen and canned vegetables can be just as healthy as fresh. Read the nutrition information panel to avoid added salt and added sugar in these varieties, and check out our tips on storing fresh fruit and vegetables.

Wholegrains

This may be more surprising given some fad diets swear off wholegrain foods like bread or cereals but regular consumption of wholegrains is linked with healthier hearts, and a lower risk of high blood pressure. This is no surprise to us here at the Heart Foundation - we know high intake of wholegrains is linked to a 30% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Choose wholegrain versions of your regular foods: wholegrain pasta and rice, wholegrain bread, wholegrain or high fibre breakfast cereal like rolled oats, porridge, or untoasted muesli. Remember to watch your portion size. Rice and pasta can be easy to over-serve. At your main meal keep to ½ to 1 cup (cooked) and instead load up on vegetables.

Reduced fat dairy

Combining the vegetables, fruit, and wholegrain choices with reduced fat unflavoured dairy products like milk and yoghurt has been linked to greater reductions in blood pressure than increasing fruit and veg intake alone.

Choose reduced fat unflavoured milk, cheese and yoghurt and look for ways to include these foods as a nourishing snack. Enjoy reduced fat plain yoghurt with a bowl of wholegrain cereal, topped with berries and nuts and you have a recipe for success. Add reduced fat cheese with tomato and avocado to wholegrain crackers for filling morning or afternoon snack.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are delicious and nutritious. Nuts and seeds provide healthy unsaturated fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Nuts, seeds and legumes are important parts of healthy eating patterns, so try and include some plain unsalted nuts and seeds in your meals every day. A serve of nuts or seeds is 30g, or a small handful.

An added bonus - regular consumption of nuts is linked to lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood, and does not lead to weight gain.

Spice up your life

Including these foods everyday will put you on a path to good health. More of these foods means less of the foods that may be too high in salt or saturated fat. Limiting your salt and saturated fat intake is important for your heart health, and the health of your blood vessels. Choose the above foods and know you’ll be automatically lowering your salt and saturated fat intake. When cooking, use different spices to bring out the flavour of your foods instead of salt.

And when you choose packaged foods, don’t always trust your tastebuds – trust the nutrition information panel instead – as many of the the packaged foods we turn to for quick and convenient meals can contain way too much hidden salt.

What do we take away from this?

Small changes count.

Several small changes can lead to big change, which is good news for our blood vessels and our hearts.  

You might also be interested in

Five ways to lower cholesterol

Five ways to lower cholesterol

Five ways to lower cholesterol

Lower your cholesterol, whether you're eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or even a snack....

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Have an easy and delicious start to your day. Get your free copy now....

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

Getting the right balance of fats in your diet can improve your heart health....

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

5 minutes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Search all of our heart healthy recipes ...

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

How can I beat the barriers and get active for a healthy heart?

How can I beat the barriers and get active for a healthy heart?

How can I beat the barriers and get active for a healthy heart?

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Sign up now and discover delicious, easy to follow dinner recipes. Plus shopping lists, tips and other helpful information to make healthy eating easy. ...

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Not all dairy products are equal. Discover different types of dairy foods and their impact on heart health....

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Check out our recipe categories to find your next heart healthy meal....

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Information on how air pollution, heatwaves and bushfires can impact heart health, and what you can do to look after yourself. ...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Could you be at risk of heart disease? Get your estimated heart age now....

Q&A with Associate Professor Gary Sacks

Q&A with Associate Professor Gary Sacks

Q&A with Associate Professor Gary Sacks

Policies for creating healthier food environments: increasing evidence and accountability for action ...

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

This test can help your doctor determine if there is anything wrong with your heart....

For Professionals: COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

For Professionals: COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

For Professionals: COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

Information and resources for health care professionals....

Q&A with A/Prof Lisa Moran

Q&A with A/Prof Lisa Moran

Q&A with A/Prof Lisa Moran

Improving screening and management of women with cardiometabolic conditions during pregnancy...

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

End of Financial Year Tax Receipt

End of Financial Year Tax Receipt

End of Financial Year Tax Receipt

Looking to claim your donations in your tax return this financial year?...

Roast chicken with onion, cherry tomato and pine nut stuffing

Roast chicken with onion, cherry tomato and pine nut stuffing

1 hour 50 minutes
Serves 6

Quesadillas with avocado and tomato salsa

Quesadillas with avocado and tomato salsa

12 minutes
Serves 6 (as a side)

Heart failure resources for patients

Heart failure resources for patients

Educate your patients on everything they need to know about heart failure and managing their condition ...

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you have heart disease, you are more vulnerable to severe complications....

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests can measure the levels of substances such as blood fat to show if, and how much of, your heart has been damaged....

Kids recipes

Kids recipes

Kids recipes

Find heart healthy kids recipes...

Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian recipes

Search through our vegetarian recipes...

2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award

2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award

Salad recipes

Salad recipes

Salad recipes

Search through our tasty salad recipes...

Research Directory

Research Directory

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Resources available for built environment professionals to help guide in the development of active outdoor and indoor spaces....

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

David reflects on how his life changed when he had a heart attack at 35 and how he got back on track....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information and resources for healthcare professionals....

Easy chicken nasi goreng

Easy chicken nasi goreng

Easy chicken nasi goreng

10 minutes
Serves 2

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

This webinar discusses the role of practice nurses in conducting heart health checks...

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Explore our research award recipients and projects...

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

We need your opinion, experience and skills to help us improve the heart health of all Australians. ...

2022 PhD Scholarship

2022 PhD Scholarship