The 6 Best Bedtime Snacks for People with High Blood Pressure, According to a Dietitian

The best late-night bites to nibble on when you have hypertension aren’t boring. In fact, they’re packed with nutrition and are tasty, too.

Snacking often gets a bad rap–especially when you do it before bed. But, for the 47% of U.S. adults who have hypertension (high blood pressure) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a before-bed snack may actually be beneficial for your health. Indeed, as long as you choose the right foods, having a bite to eat at night can help you manage high blood pressure—and these snacks are great at other times of the day, too.

Pictured Recipe: Cinnamon-Roll Overnight Oats

What to Look for in a Blood Pressure-Friendly Snack

When deciding what to eat, here's what makes the best snacks if you have high blood pressure:

  • Balanced: "The best bedtime snacks for people with high blood pressure will include a mix of protein, carbohydrate and fiber to help you feel satisfied," says Pam Hartnett, M.P.H., RDN, co-owner of The Vitality Dietitians.
  • Under 200 calories: "Your body cannot digest large amounts of food and sleep well at the same time," says Harnett. That's why she recommends limiting your snack to 200 calories.
  • Low-, very low- or no-sodium: The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet recommends a maximum of 2,300 milligrams (approximately 1 teaspoon) of sodium daily. Decreasing to 1,500 mg per day can be even more impactful.
  • Rich in certain minerals: Getting enough of certain minerals, including potassium, magnesium and calcium, can help lower high blood pressure.
  • Mostly plant-based: Plant-based foods are rich in compounds like antioxidants, flavonoids and phytonutrients, which help protect cells from damage, lower inflammation and reduce blood pressure.
  • Contains unsaturated fatty acids: Eating more unsaturated fatty acids from plant sources and less saturated fatty acids can help decrease blood pressure.
  • Packs omega-3 fatty acids: Compared to folks who don't eat omega-3 fatty acids, consuming 2 to 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily may help lower blood pressure, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2022.
cinnamon roll overnight oats shot overhead in mason jars with raspberries and pecans on top

The 6 Best Bedtime Snacks for High Blood Pressure

Here are tasty and dietitian-approved snack combinations to satisfy that late-night craving and support a heart-healthy diet for healthy blood pressure levels:

1. Banana with Nut Butter

This classic combination is great because bananas are high in potassium, while nut butters contain magnesium. Nut butters also pack unsaturated fatty acids and protein, which can help you feel satisfied.

2. Oatmeal with Fruit and Unsalted Nuts or Seeds

Oatmeal isn't just for breakfast. It can be a great before-bed snack as well! Oatmeal is a fiber-rich whole grain, which is a DASH-approved food. Top it with fiber- and antioxidant-rich fruit and heart-healthy nuts or seeds, and you have a winning combination.

3. Yogurt or Cottage Cheese and Fruit

Low-fat dairy, such as yogurt or cottage cheese, supplies blood pressure-lowering calcium and is DASH-approved. Both yogurt and cottage cheese also contain protein and some fat, which can help you feel full and satisfied. Pair it with a fruit of your choice. Some ideas: oranges, apples, kiwis and berries, as these are all rich in potassium, vitamins and antioxidants, which help reduce blood pressure and inflammation. To limit added sugars, choose plain dairy, if possible, and rely on the sweetness from fruit to provide the flavor.

4. Veggies Dipped in Hummus

Various vegetables, like bell pepper strips, snap peas, mini cucumbers and green beans, are recommended as part of a heart-healthy diet because they are packed with potassium, vitamins and fiber. They are also rich in water, which can help you stay hydrated, another important measure for managing high blood pressure. Veggies are great dipped in hummus. Not only is the combo satisfying, but hummus offers some protein, fiber and a little fat, making this a well-rounded snack. Store-bought hummus is great, but homemade takes it to another level. Try this easy Classic Hummus recipe.

5. Whole-Grain Toast with Avocado

Mash a quarter of an avocado over a slice of whole-grain toast for a balanced snack. This combination comes with plenty of fiber and healthy fats to help manage your blood pressure, even before bed.

6. Unsalted Nuts with Dark Chocolate

This snack feels surprisingly more like a treat, and—guess what—it's also great for people who need to manage their blood pressure. Nuts are rich in magnesium, while dark chocolate contains flavonoids to help lower blood pressure. Besides, other benefits to regularly eating dark chocolate include a boost in brainpower.

Other Tips to Manage Your Blood Pressure

What else can you do to keep your blood pressure numbers healthy? The American Heart Association recommends managing your blood pressure by:

  • Eating an overall healthy diet, including a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, lean proteins and low-fat dairy.
  • Staying hydrated with at least six to eight glasses of water per day.
  • Minimizing added sodium and sugars.
  • Limiting or abstaining from alcohol.
  • Aiming to move your body at least 30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes per week.
  • Quitting or avoiding smoking or vaping, and avoiding secondhand smoke.
  • Managing stress.
  • Getting adequate and restful sleep, recommends the CDC.

The Bottom Line

Even if you have high blood pressure, you can still enjoy a heart-healthy snack before bed. Limit high-sodium snacks, and choose snacks that contain a combination of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber, all of which can help keep your blood pressure under control while helping you feel satisfied and full. You may find that you even sleep better. Overall, you can't go wrong with choosing a combination of fruits, whole grains, salt-free nuts and seeds and low-fat dairy.

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