Nutrition for high blood pressure: which foods to eat and which to avoid

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Louise Hay

Author and references

The first fundamental rule for counteract hypertension è limit the consumption of salt, in favor of aromatic herbs and spices.

However, overall nutrition needs to be improved, lifestyle, carry out regular physical activity and avoid smoking. What are the other tips? Let's see them together!

What is blood pressure and hypertension
Risks associated with hypertension
How to prevent hypertension
Recommended foods for hypertension

What is blood pressure and hypertension

We often hear about "blood pressure", but what does this term mean in practice? Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the heart to circulate blood in the body and we distinguish it in:

  1. Blood pressure systolic (maxim): is obtained when the heart contracts to pump blood into the arteries;
  2. blood pressure diastolic (minima): occurs between two contractions, when the heart dilates, filling with blood.

Blood pressure it is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) ei optimal values they should not exceed 120 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 80 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure.

Pressure values ​​between:

  • 140/90 and 160/100 are defined as grade 1 arterial hypertension;
  • 160/100 and 180/110 are referred to as grade 2 arterial hypertension;
  •  beyond the values ​​of 180/110, we speak of grade 3 arterial hypertension.

According to the latest indagini of the Cardiovascular Epidemiological Observatory / Health Examination Survey (Oec / Hes), 56% of men and 43% of women aged 35-79 in the country are hypertensive.

Overall, more than 50% of men and more than 40% of women the paesene! 

Risks associated with hypertension

Blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke, myocardial infarction, peripheral arteriopathies, chronic renal failure and retinopathy. The higher the pressure, the greater the risk of getting sick.

How to prevent hypertension

It is estimated that 90-95% of cases of arterial hypertension are due to a poor diet, overweight, obesity and poor physical activity, while only 5-10% of cases of hypertension are related to a disease of the endocrine system, kidneys or drug intake.

Here because improve your lifestyle in general it can be a winning weapon in preventing or combating hypertension! What can we do in practice?

• Check the body weight;
• Carry out regularly physical activity;  
• Avoid the smoke;
• Avoid conditions stress;
• I will follow a healthy supply:


- Consume regularly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes e fish rich in omega-3 (anchovies, mackerel, salmon);

-    Limit the consumption of saturated fat, which we find above all in foods of animal origin, such as red or processed meats (cured meats) and cheeses;

-    Significantly reduce the consumption of salt, which is already naturally contained in food. In addition to avoiding adding it to the table, it is also useful to avoid packaged foods, often excessively rich in salt (not only chips, crackers or the like, but also soups, sandwiches, sauces and canned fish). box which, if rinsed well under running water, have no contraindications!

-    Avoid coffee;

-    Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one glass of wine a day for women and a maximum of two for men.


Recommended foods for hypertension 

  • Salmon and fatty fish: reduce inflammation and help reduce blood pressure;
  • Pumpkin seeds: rich in magnesium, potassium and arginine, an amino acid involved in the production of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator;
  • Berries: rich in anthocyanins, pigments that favor the production of nitric oxide;
  • Celery: rich in phthalides, molecules that control the production of hormones involved in the regulation of blood pressure;
  • Beans and lentils: rich in fiber, magnesium and potassium, minerals involved in the regulation of blood pressure;
  • Beets and spinach: rich in magnesium and potassium;
  • Cabbages: rich in antioxidants, favor the production of nitric oxide;
  • Spices like saffron, coriander, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon.


Other articles on nutrition for high blood pressure:

  • The use of salt in the kitchen

  • The high blood pressure diet

  • Diet and hypertension

  • Pressure changes: causes, prevention and risks

  • 10 foods for high blood pressure

  • High blood pressure and dizziness: what to avoid

  • High blood pressure, what to do to prevent it

  • High blood pressure, which herbal teas to prefer


Bibliography and sources

Society and the country of arterial hypertension
Hypertension: data from the Cardiovascular Epidemiological Observatory / Health Examination Survey
Istituto Superiore di Sanita
World Health Organization
Role of Dietary Components in Modulating Hypertension, Clinical & Experimental Cardiology
Therapeutic Benefits of L-Arginine: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses, Journal of chiropractic medicine
Beneficial effects of celery (Apium graveolens) on metabolic syndrome: A review of the existing evidences, Phytotherapy Research
Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and the Incidence of Hypertension in Three Prospective Cohort Studies, Hypertension
Anti-hypertensive Herbs and their Mechanisms of Action: Part I, Frontiers in Pharmacology
Anti-hypertensive Herbs and their Mechanisms of Action: Part II, Frontiers in Pharmacology

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