High Blood Pressure Diet Guidelines

A nutritious diet and a healthful lifestyle can help keep your blood pressure within a healthy range.

Scale back sodium intake

High intakes of sodium can cause you to retain more water, which increases the volume of blood circulating through your body. This translates to higher blood pressure. Most Americans consume too much sodium. Keep intake to less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. If you already have high blood pressure, your doctor may advise eating even less: recent research suggests that consuming less than 1,500 mg daily is most effective for reducing blood pressure. See tips for reducing salt in your diet.

Load up on produce

Fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium, a mineral that helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. Particularly good sources of potassium include bananas, oranges, tomatoes, artichokes, lima beans, spinach, dried prunes and raisins. Low-fat dairy is a good source of the mineral too.

Go easy on alcoholic beverages

Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure (though no one knows exactly why). If you drink, do so moderately—that means one drink a day for women, two drinks for men. Do you know what constitutes one drink?

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner