• Close to 50 percent of American adults have high blood pressure, which can lead to kidney failure and stroke.
  • Seven types of foods can lower blood pressure, such as magnesium-rich nuts and seeds.
  • Also, potassium-rich foods, such as avocados, can decrease blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.
  • Plants rich in nitrates, like beetroots, lettuce, and celery, can decrease blood pressure naturally as well.

At the last continuing medical education conference I attended, the lecturer, a physician specializing in blood pressure and kidney problems, reminded us that seven types of foods can lower our blood pressure. I thought the information was worth sharing.

But first, how many people in the U.S. have high blood pressure?


According to the American Heart Association, over 122 million people (close to 50 percent of American adults) have high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. So, it is important to keep our systolic blood pressure below 120 and our diastolic blood pressure below 80.


How can we achieve normal blood pressure without medication?

Most physicians will ask you to follow the Mayo Clinic recommendations and will tell you that to lower your blood pressure, you need to lose weight, decrease your sodium intake, stop smoking, limit your alcohol intake, exercise regularly, and decrease your stress level using yoga, meditation, or biofeedback, to just name a few tools.


What physicians might not tell you is that there are seven types of food that can lower your blood pressure naturally and, therefore, lower the chance of stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure:

1. Foods rich in magnesium

Several studies, one published in Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease in 2018, show how important magnesium is to decrease high blood pressure and keep intact our kidney function. In the last few years, the average American intake of foods rich in magnesium has drastically decreased, which is unfortunate because magnesium acts as a cofactor of more than 300 enzymes.

Magnesium allows muscle fibers in our blood vessels to relax; it reduces inflammation and has a critical role in insulin metabolism (insulin is a hormone linked to diabetes).

So, it is important that we eat foods that are rich in magnesium daily.

Great sources of magnesium are:

  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds
  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, and edamame
  • Whole grains: oats, brown rice, and quinoa
  • Potatoes and sweet corn
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fruits: Avocado, bananas, papayas, and blackberries
  • Yogurt

Magnesium can also be taken as a dietary supplement, but keep in mind that high doses of magnesium supplements could cause diarrhea.

2. Foods rich in potassium

Among many others, an article in the 2017 International Journal of Cardiology shows that eating foods rich in potassium can lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. Potassium helps push excess sodium out of our body, and, like magnesium, potassium allows muscle fibers in our blood vessels to relax.


Great sources of potassium are:

  • Fruits such as bananas, oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, avocado, apricots, prunes, and raisins
  • Vegetables such as leafy greens, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and mushrooms
  • Dairy products: milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Fish: salmon, tuna, and cod
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pistachios, cashews, and sunflower seeds

3. Foods rich in zinc

Zinc, according to a study in the 2020 European Journal of Nutrition, decreases systolic blood pressure. Zinc helps with the production of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, therefore decreasing systolic blood pressure. Zinc also has antioxidant effects.

  • Meat and poultry: beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey
  • Seafood: oysters, crab, shrimp, and lobster
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds
  • Whole grains: oats, brown rice, and quinoa
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, and peas
  • Dairy products: milk, yogurt, and cheese

Zinc can also be taken as a dietary supplement.

4. Foods rich in nitrates

Nitrates transform into nitrites, which help with the production of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, according to D’El-Rei and colleagues (International Journal of Hypertension, 2016)

A wonderful source of nitrates is beetroots. Other great sources of nitrates are spinach, arugula, lettuce, chard, and celery.


Several researchers have focused on giving daily beetroot juice to hypertensive patients. Some, including Cicero Jonas Benjamim and colleagues, found that daily beetroot juice decreases systolic blood pressure significantly in both men and women (Frontiers in Nutrition, 2022). Others, like Myers and colleagues, found that daily beetroot juice decreases diastolic blood pressure in pregnant women (Nitric Oxide, 2020).


5. Garlic

Several studies, such as the one published in Integrated Blood Pressure Control in 2014, show that garlic has vasodilation and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic can also be taken as a dietary supplement, the best one being aged garlic extract.

6. Ginger

Among many others, a 2019 article in Phytotherapy Research shows that ginger intake decreases blood pressure. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and helps with the production of nitric oxide.


7. Ginseng

Several studies, including the one published in the 2014 Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, show that Panax ginseng intake decreases arterial stiffness as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure in healthy individuals.

So, let’s not wait. Let’s include those important seven types of foods in our everyday diet.



Effect of Spinach, a High Dietary Nitrate Source, on Arterial Stiffness and Related Hemodynamic Measures: A Randomized, Controlled Trial in Healthy Adults by Elena Jovanovski, Laura Bosco, and Vladimir Vuksan in Clinical nutrition Research, 201

Magnesium and Blood Pressure: A Physiology-Based Approach by Joëlle C. Schutten, Michel M. Joosten, Martin H. de Borst, Stephan J.L. Bakker in Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease Volume 25, Issue 3, May 2018, Pages 244-250

The effect of potassium supplementation on blood pressure in hypertensive subjects: A systematic review and meta-analysis by Tommaso Filippini a b, Federica Violi a b, Roberto D'Amico c, Marco Vinceti in International Journal of Cardiology Volume 230, 1 March 2017, Pages 127-135

The effect of zinc supplementation on blood pressure: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials by Seyed Mohammad MousaviManije Darooghegi MofradIsrael Júnior Borges do NascimentoAlireza MilajerdiTahereh Mokhtari & Ahmad Esmaillzadeh in the European Journal of Nutrition volume 59, pages 1815–1827 (2020)

Beneficial Effects of Dietary Nitrate on Endothelial Function and Blood Pressure Levels by Jenifer d’El-Rei,1Ana Rosa Cunha, Michelle Trindade, and Mario Fritsch Neves in the International Journal of hypertension 2016

Nitrate Derived From Beetroot Juice Lowers Blood Pressure in Patients With Arterial Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-AnalysisCicero Jonas R. Benjamim and colleagues in Frontiers in Nutrition 2022

Effects of dietary nitrate supplementation, from beetroot juice, on blood pressure in hypertensive pregnant women: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled feasibility trial by Laura Ormesher, Jenny E. Myers, Catherine Chmiel, Mark Wareing, Susan L. Greenwood, Teresa Tropea, Jon O. Lundberg, Eddie Weitzberg , Carina Nihlen, Colin P. Sibley, Edward D. Johnstone, Elizabeth C. Cottrell in Nitric Oxide November 2018

Potential of garlic (Allium sativum) in lowering high blood pressure: mechanisms of action and clinical relevance by Karin Ried & Peter Fakler in Integrated Blood Pressure Control 2014

Does ginger supplementation lower blood pressure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials by Hossein HasaniArman ArabAmir HadiMakan PourmasoumiAbed GhavamiMaryam Miraghajani in Phytotherapy Research 2019

Effect of Rg3-enriched Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) on arterial stiffness and blood pressure in healthy individuals: a randomized controlled trial by Elena Jovanovski MSc a, Emma A. Bateman BSc, Jyoti Bhardwaj MSc, Chris Fairgrieve MD, Iva Mucalo PhD, Alexandra L. Jenkins RD, PhD, Vladimir Vuksan PhD in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension Volume 8, Issue 8, August 2014, Pages 537-541





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