High Blood Pressure Snacks (with Recipes)

Bowls with sliced vegetables and berries

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be highly modified by lifestyle interventions which include consuming a nutrient-dense whole foods diet (with healthy snacks), exercising most days of the week, limiting alcohol intake, abstaining from tobacco use, and even using essential oils (learn more here).

Dietary changes to lower blood pressure can include a combination of decreasing intake of some foods and increasing others. If implementing all of the typical nutrition recommendations at once is daunting, you can slowly add and remove foods at your comfort level.

One easy place to start is with snacks. Store-bought snacks often contain excessive amounts of highly-processed sugar, fat, and salt which can all impact blood pressure, especially when consumed together. By preparing a variety of snacks and meals at home using specific blood pressure-lowering foods, you will be able to easily start improving your diet to prevent and manage hypertension.

This article will review nutrients that lower blood pressure, foods that lower blood pressure, foods to avoid with hypertension, and several options for snacks that lower blood pressure.

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Nutrients That Lower Blood Pressure

Specific nutrients in food can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and may be able to prevent high blood pressure in those without. It is usually best to consume these nutrients in the whole food form, rather than as supplements. We will review the best food sources and snack options as well.

  • Bioactive peptides
    • Bioactive peptides are specific chains of amino acids found in eggs, meat, fish, dairy, and soy. They have been shown to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), control the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), and promote nitric oxide formation. (1,2) These properties make bioactive peptides likely to lower blood pressure.
  • Calcium (3)
  • Carotenoids
    • Carotenoids include α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. They are naturally-occurring in red, orange, and yellow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. (4,5)
  • CoQ10
    • CoQ10 is both an antioxidant and an energy-producing compound. These qualities make it essential for optimal heart function. Organ meats contain more CoQ10 than other foods, so unless you eat offal regularly, you may need to supplement with CoQ10 to lower your blood pressure. (6)
  • Fiber
    • While all types of fiber may lower blood pressure, β-glucan decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure more than other forms. (7)
  • Flavonoids
    • Flavonoids, especially anthocyanin, quercetin, epicatechin, and catechin, improve cardiovascular health, including blood pressure. They are involved in the production of nitric oxide which is one way they improve hypertension. (8,9,10,11,12,13,14)
  • L-arginine
    • L-arginine is an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate and lowers blood pressure. (15)
  • Magnesium (16)
  • Nitrates
    • Nitrates that are naturally-occurring in food can help lower blood pressure. They convert to nitrites, or nitric acid, which expands blood vessels and allows blood to flow more easily. Vegetables contain naturally-occurring nitrates and are the most abundant source of nitrates in our food. (17,18)
  • Potassium (19)
  • Probiotics
    • Probiotics can modify gut bacteria and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension. (20)
  • Vitamin C (21)

Blood Pressure Benefits of Soaking & Sprouting

Many of the nutrients listed above are found in plant foods. Due to the protective compounds (sometimes called anti-nutrients) found in these foods, like lectins, lignans, oxalates, phytates, protease inhibitors, and tannins, the nutrients can’t be adequately utilized by the body unless the food is properly prepared.

To increase the nutrient availability in foods like beans, nuts, seeds, grains, and fibrous vegetables, soaking, sprouting, and/or thoroughly cooking is important. You can learn more about how to properly soak and sprout here.

Natural Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

Foods That Lower Blood PressureNutrients PresentMeal & Snack Ideas 
ApricotsCarotenoids, fiber, flavonoids, potassium, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast
-Added to oatmeal, yogurt
AvocadosFiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C-Guacamole
-Paired with crackers, fish, smoothies, turkey breast, veggies
BananasFiber, potassium, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast, yogurt
-Added to oatmeal, smoothies
Barley (22)Fiber (beta-glucan), magnesium-Added to salads, soups
BeansFiber, magnesium, potassium-Bean dip with veggies
-Added to hummus, salads, soups
BeetsFiber, magnesium, nitrates, potassium-Added to hummus, salads, smoothies
Bell peppersCarotenoids, flavonoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, dips, fish, guacamole, turkey breast
-Added to dips, guacamole, salads
BerriesFiber, flavonoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast, yogurt
-Added to oatmeal, smoothies
BroccoliCarotenoids, fiber, flavonoids, potassium, vitamin C -Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, dips, fish, guacamole, turkey breast
-Added to salads
CantaloupeCarotenoids, potassium, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast, yogurt
-Added to salads, smoothies
CarrotsCarotenoids, fiber, flavonoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, dips, fish, guacamole, turkey breast
-Added to dips, salads, smoothies, soups
CeleryFlavonoids, nitrates-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, dips, fish, guacamole, nut butter, turkey breast
-Added to egg salad, soups, tuna salad
Dairy (cheese, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt)Bioactive peptides, calcium, potassium-Paired with fruit, salads, turkey breast, veggies
-Added to chia pudding, muffins, oatmeal, smoothies
Dark chocolate (≥ 70% cocoa)Flavonoids, magnesium-Paired with fruit, nuts/seeds
-Added to chia pudding, muffins
Eggs (23)Bioactive peptides-Egg salad
-Hard-boiled
-Paired with crackers, salads, sandwiches, veggies
FishBioactive peptides, calcium (if bones eaten), magnesium, potassium-Paired with cheese, crackers, fruit, veggies
-Added to salads, sandwiches
Fermented foods (apple cider vinegar, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, vegetables, yogurt)Probiotics-Tempeh or veggies added to salads, sandwiches
-Yogurt added to fruit, granola, nuts/seeds, smoothies
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)Fiber, L-arginine, magnesium, potassium-Roasted
-Added to hummus, salads, soups
GrapefruitCarotenoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast
Green tea (24)Flavonoids-Added to smoothies
HoneydewVitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast
-Added to smoothies
Kiwi (25)Carotenoids, flavonoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast
-Added to salads, smoothies
Leafy green vegetables (cabbage, collard greens, fennel, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard)Calcium, carotenoids, fiber, magnesium, nitrates, potassium, vitamin C-Added to salads, smoothies
Lentils (26)Fiber, magnesium, potassium-Added to salads, soups
MangoesCarotenoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast
-Added to oatmeal, smoothies
Nuts & seedsCalcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium-Added to chia pudding, oatmeal, muffins, salads, smoothies, yogurt
Oats (22)Fiber (beta-glucan), magnesium-Added to granola, oatmeal, muffins
Olive oilFlavonoids-Added to dips, salad dressing
Onions (27)Flavonoids-Added to dips, guacamole, salads, sandwiches, tuna salad
Oranges & orange juiceFiber, flavonoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, salads, yogurt
-Added to smoothies
PateCoQ10-Paired with crackers, veggies
Pomegranate juice & seeds (28,29)Fiber, flavonoids, potassium, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast
-Added to chia pudding, oatmeal, muffins, salads, smoothies, yogurt
PumpkinCarotenoids, fiber, potassium, vitamin C-Roasted & added to muffins, salads, smoothies
SeaweedCarotenoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, fish, turkey breast
Sweet potatoesCarotenoids, fiber, flavonoids, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C-Toasted & topped with nut butter
-Roasted & added to muffins, salads, smoothies
Tomatoes (30)Carotenoids, flavonoids, potassium, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, dips
-Added to guacamole, salads, sandwiches
Turkey breastBioactive peptides, L-arginine, magnesium-Paired with cheese, crackers, fruit, veggies
-Added to salads, sandwiches
Watermelon (31)Carotenoids, vitamin C-Paired with cheese, cottage cheese, nuts/seeds, turkey breast
-Added to salads, smoothies

Foods to Avoid with Hypertension

  • Foods with added sugar
    • Sugar-sweetened beverages may increase your blood pressure. (32,33)
    • One study showed that females who consumed an average of 8.3 teaspoons of added sugar per day had higher blood pressure than females who consumed less. (34)
    • Sugar found naturally in fruit, fruit juice, root vegetables, and milk are not considered as added sugar. These foods in addition to honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, and raw cane sugar contain vitamins and minerals that help your body utilize the sugar they contain for energy (did you know every cell in your body uses sugar for energy?).
    • Highly-processed sugar, like conventional white sugar/table sugar, agave, and high-fructose corn syrup are heavily processed and refined so they don’t contain the important vitamins and minerals and are more likely to cause negative health effects
  • Excessive sodium intake
    • In people with hypertension, excessive sodium intake (greater than 5.5 grams per day) may cause blood pressure to rise. (35)
    • 5.5 grams of sodium is equivalent to about ¾ tablespoon or 2 ⅓ teaspoons of salt.
  • Excessive alcohol intake
    • Excessive alcohol intake (greater than 1.5 drinks per day for women and greater than 2.5 drinks per day for men) is associated with a greater risk for hypertension. (36)

Snacks That Lower Blood Pressure

Crunchy

Savory

Sweet

High Blood Pressure Snacks. Bioactive peptides, calcium, carotenoids, CoQ10, fiber, flavonoids, l-arginine, magnesium, nitrates, potassium, probiotics, vitamin C

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