12 Foods That Naturally Help Lower Blood Pressure

woman slicing banana and avocado
Photo: Marko Geber / Getty Images

If you have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, you're not alone. Nearly half (yes, half!) of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's also a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke—but luckily, it's possible to reduce high blood pressure via healthy habits, such as exercise and stress management.

It's also worth focusing on potassium, a mineral that's essential for healthy blood pressure. A quick biology lesson: Eating excess sodium constricts your blood vessels, which causes high blood pressure. However, "when you consume more potassium, it causes your body to release sodium in your urine," explains Sandy Younan Brikho, MDA, RDN, registered dietitian and founder of The Dish on Nutrition. This relaxes your blood vessels, ultimately reducing high blood pressure.

Fortunately, the best foods for potassium are both delicious and versatile. They're also easy to incorporate into your cooking, so you'll have no problem fueling up onpotassium-rich ingredients in the name of healthy blood pressure.

01 of 12


ripe bananas on kitchen counter
eugenekeebler / Getty Images

If bananas had a claim to fame, their potassium content would be it. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one banana contains an impressive 375 milligrams of potassium. (For context, a fruit is considered to be high in potassium if it contains more than 200 to 250 milligrams per serving, shares registered dietitian Laura Iu, RD, CDN, CNSC.).

Luckily, bananas are some of the most versatile fruits you can eat. Not only are they ideal for snacking on the go, but they're excellent in smoothies, banana bread and other baked goods.

02 of 12


butternut-squash roast with pistachio yogurt and grain relish
Ryan Liebe

For another generous dose of potassium, add squash to your favorite dishes. According to Brikho, winter squash such as acorn, butternut, hubbard, and delicata are especially rich in the mineral. Try stuffing, roasting, or puréeing squash for a flavorful fall meal.

03 of 12



Leafy greens, especially spinach, are excellent sources of potassium. "Two cups of raw spinach provide about 7 percent of your daily potassium needs, while 1 cup of cooked spinach provides about 18 percent," says registered dietitian Joanna Foley, RD.

To enjoy spinach, try adding it to salads, homemade pesto, smoothies, or pasta, suggests Foley. It also cooks down extremely well, making it easy to incorporate into dishes like soups and stews.

04 of 12


sliced avocados on cutting board
Chris Simpson

If you're still not sold on avocado toast, the potassium content of avocado might change your mind. According to Brikho, just one avocado offers about 975 milligrams of the mineral, making it one of the best foods for potassium.

To incorporate avocado into your meals, you can "add it on top of an omelet, finish a salad with [chopped or sliced] avocado, or include avocados in enchiladas," says Brikho. You also can't go wrong with a generous helping of homemade guacamole.

05 of 12


brothy mussels oven fries
Johnny Fogg

Shellfish lovers, this one's for you. According to Iu, mollusks (think clams, scallops, mussels, and oysters) are an excellent source of potassium, providing upwards of 500 milligrams per 3-ounce serving. They're also rich in important nutrients like zinc, iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, or "good" fats.

Mollusks can instantly turn any recipe into an elegant dish. Enjoy them with pasta, in soups, or grilled with your go-to vegetables.

06 of 12


Salmon with Fennel, Bell Pepper, and Olives
Johnny Miller

If mollusks aren't your style, consider reaching for salmon. According to Brikho, one serving (about 3 ounces or 100 grams) of salmon contains 363 milligrams of potassium. For context, the same serving size of chicken contains just 223 milligrams of the mineral.

"Salmon is also low in saturated fat and contains B12, vitamin D, and iron," Brikho adds. What's more, the fish can be cooked in myriad ways, including broiling—like the sheet-pan recipe pictured here—grilling, roasting, sautéing, and even poaching in oil.

07 of 12

Coconut Water

Emily Kate Roemer

Switch up your hydration game—and manage your blood pressure—with coconut water. According to Iu, 1 cup of coconut water contains about 600 milligrams of potassium, which is more than a banana.

And while coconut water tastes great on its own, there are many ways to enjoy it. "You can use coconut water to make desserts, braises, stews, and dressings to add more flavor [to your food]," says Iu. Another option is to blend coconut water with fruit and freeze the mixture in molds to make refreshing ice pops or an easy granita.

08 of 12

Nuts and Seeds

woman eating mixed nuts
Julio Ricco / Getty Images

If you're a fan of crunchy foods, reach for nuts and seeds. Options that are particularly high in potassium include pistachios, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, and almonds, says Iu.

Nuts and seeds are also ideal for giving favorite dishes a boost of potassium. Use them as a topping for salads, yogurt, and smoothie bowls, or fold them into your next quick bread or cookie batter.

09 of 12

Dairy Products

alt milk
Sidney Bensimon

Milk and non-fat Greek yogurt are particularly rich in potassium. And here's a useful tip: "Typically, the lower the fat in dairy foods, the higher the potassium," says Brikho. However, if you need or want to avoid dairy, you'll be glad to know that nut milks—such as almond milk—are also high in potassium.

10 of 12


creamy lentil stew topped with fried egg
Christopher Testani

"One cup of cooked lentils provides about 16 percent of [your] daily needs for potassium," says Foley. The same amount also offers fiber, protein, iron, zinc, and more, she notes.

In addition to being tasty and satiating, cooked lentils are a stellar replacement for meat. Use them in plant-based versions of classic dishes like burger patties, tacos, and meatballs, says Foley. You can also make pasta sauce or soups heartier by adding lentils and we love a creamy lentil stew.

11 of 12



Enjoy 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes and you'll get 11 percent of your daily needs of potassium, says Foley. Cooked white and sweet potatoes are also some of the best foods for potassium, giving you the perfect reason to whip up one of your favorite potato recipes.

But take note: "Potassium can leach into the water when [boiling], so cooking methods that use little or no water [is] best for preserving the potassium content," says Foley. These include techniques like baking, grilling, and steaming, she says. French fries, anyone?

12 of 12

100 Percent Fruit or Vegetable Juice

carrot juice mimosas

Thanks to 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, you can quench your thirst while increasing your potassium intake. According to Iu, excellent options include vegetable juice made with leafy greens and fresh orange, pomegranate, or prune juice.

But take note: For the full blood pressure-lowering benefits of these drinks, go for 100 percent juice—meaning, juice that only contains fruit and vegetable ingredients. As Iu explains, fruit or vegetable juice is only considered to be "100 percent" when it's not diluted with water and sugar.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles