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Sean Cate
Sean Cate
June 18, 2024 ·  4 min read

10 Foods To Avoid if You Have High Blood Pressure (and 10 to Eat More of)

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects nearly half of all adults in the United States and is a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health issues.1 Management through diet is crucial, and knowing which foods to avoid and which to incorporate more of can make a substantial difference. Here are ten foods to avoid and ten to eat more of to help with hypertension.

1. Salty Foods

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High sodium consumption can elevate blood pressure, and many people consume more sodium than recommended. Common offenders include burgers, pizza, sandwiches, cold cuts, and canned soups.

Read More: Blood Pressure Chart: Normal & High Blood Pressure by Age

2. Sugary Drinks

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Sugary beverages, such as sodas and energy drinks, often contain high fructose corn syrup and caffeine, both of which can raise blood pressure.2 Opting for water or unsweetened beverages can be beneficial.

3. Processed Meats

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Processed meats like bacon, sausages, and deli meats are high in sodium and can contribute to hypertension. Choosing fresh, lean meats instead can help keep hypertension in check.

4. Pickles and Pickled Foods

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Pickling involves preserving foods in salt, which significantly increases their sodium content and, therefore, can increase your blood pressure. Foods like pickles, olives, and sauerkraut are best to be limited. If you enjoy pickled and fermented foods for the probiotic boost, opt for lower sodium varieties or foods like yogurt and kefir.

5. Canned Soups and Vegetables

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Canned soups and vegetables often contain high levels of sodium used for preservation and flavor enhancement. Opt for fresh or frozen alternatives or choose low-sodium equivalents to protect your blood pressure.

Read More: 10 Natural Home Remedies To Help Lower High Blood Pressure

6. Alcohol

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Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure. It’s advisable to limit intake to moderate levels—no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women.

7. Red Meat

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Red meats, particularly when processed, are shown to increase your blood pressure. Beef, lamb, and pork are best consumed in moderation, with an emphasis on leaner cuts.

8. Sugary Foods

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Foods high in added sugars, such as desserts and baked goods, can contribute to weight gain as well as higher blood pressure. Reduce your sugar intake to better benefit for heart health.

9. Condiments

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Many condiments like ketchup, soy sauce, and salad dressings contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. Checking labels and choosing low-sodium or low-sugar options can help.

10. Fried Foods

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Fried foods are typically high in saturated fats, which can increase cholesterol levels. Baking, grilling, or steaming foods is a healthier alternative. Here are some Foods to Eat More Of!

1. Leafy Greens

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Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in potassium, which helps balance sodium levels and reduce blood pressure. Incorporate these into salads, smoothies, and meals.3

Read More: Feel Lazy Sometimes? Don’t Worry it May Help Reduce Stress, High Blood Pressure, and Improve Mental Health

2. Berries

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Berries, particularly blueberries, are packed with nitric oxide, which can help reduce hypertension. They make a great addition to breakfast cereals, smoothies, and desserts.

3. Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is high in fiber and it can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It’s an excellent choice for a heart-healthy breakfast.

4. Bananas

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Bananas are a great source of potassium, which helps manage hypertension. Enjoy them as a snack or in smoothies and baked goods.

5. Yogurt

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Low-fat or fat-free yogurt is rich in calcium and other nutrients that are beneficial for blood pressure control. Mix it with fruits and nuts for a nutritious snack.

6. Salmon

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Salmon and other fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation, making it easier on your heart. Grill or bake for a healthy meal.4

7. Quinoa

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Quinoa is a nutrient-dense whole grain high in magnesium and fiber. It’s versatile and can be used in salads, as a side dish, or even for breakfast.

Read More: These Are The Most Up-to-date Blood Pressure Guidelines. Are They Right for Everyone?

8. Garlic

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Garlic contains allicin, which can help reduce blood pressure. Incorporate fresh garlic into your cooking for added flavor and health benefits.

9. Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium and magnesium, making them great for blood pressure management. Bake or roast them as a side dish or main ingredient.

10. Avocado

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Avocados are high in potassium and healthy fats. They can be added to salads, sandwiches, or enjoyed as guacamole.


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Managing high blood pressure through diet involves both avoiding foods that can exacerbate the condition and incorporating those that help control it. By making conscious food choices, you can significantly impact your overall heart health.

Read More: 7 Early Warning Signs of High Blood Sugar


  1. 50 foods and drinks to avoid for people with high blood pressure.” Medical News Today. Zawn Villines. October 27, 2023
  2. Foods and Drinks to Avoid with High Blood Pressure.” Healthline. Kimberly Holland. February 9, 2024
  3. 20 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Naturally, According to Experts.” Prevention. Sara Shulman and Arielle Weg. May 24, 2022.
  4. Beating high blood pressure with food.” Harvard. August 23, 2019.