What Can a Person With High Blood Pressure Eat?

The key to a healthy diet if you have high blood pressure is to eat foods with a low sodium content. A great start is to simply throw away your table-top salt shaker so that adding salt to food at meal time is not an option. Beyond that, there are plenty of healthy ways to add flavor to your favorite dishes and plenty of recipes designed just for reducing your sodium intake. Choosing foods rich in potassium also helps manage blood pressure.

Fruits and Vegetables

All fruits and vegetables are, in themselves, naturally low in sodium. Including plenty of fruits and vegetables is a sure way to avoid excess sodium, provided, of course, that salt isn't added either during or after the cooking process. However, in certain dried fruits or fruits used in combination with other ingredients, the sodium content can soar---apple pie, for example. Frozen vegetables provide the same nutrients and low sodium count as fresh ones, with the exception of those that have salt added or ones that are prepared in cream sauces. Canned vegetables are usually not a good choice, but there are low-sodium canned varieties of green beans, corn, spinach and others.

Breads, Cereals, Grains

The best choices for healthy eating when it comes to breads are whole grain varieties, which usually have a low sodium count. Most crackers are loaded with sodium, but there are low-sodium varieties on many grocery store shelves; melba toast is usually a good choice. For cereal, choose among granolas, puffed wheat or rice cereals and shredded wheat. Most dry pastas are, in themselves, fairly low in sodium, but not packaged or canned pasta products, such as macaroni and cheese.

Main Dishes

You can feel fairly certain that if you pick up some fresh pork chops, a chicken, some codfish, or other main dishes to cook for dinner, you are eating low-sodium foods. However, almost all processed meats are high in sodium, as is frozen chicken, which is often preserved in a sodium solution. Canned meats and fish are generally high in sodium, but low-sodium tuna and salmon are available. Other good sources for protein are peanut butter, with no salt added, or eggs.


For something sweet you can usually count on most ice creams and sherbets to be low in sodium. Some packaged pudding mixes are low in sodium. Try unsalted popcorn, or use a salt substitute. Unsalted nuts are a good choice. Many snack products are now available in low-sodium varieties. Fruit drinks and soda pop probably will not add much to your daily sodium intake.

Dining Out

Eating out can be tricky for people with high blood pressure; however, it is possible to have a meal at a restaurant and stick to your low-sodium regimen. Make choices that avoid sauces and ingredients naturally high in sodium. At better restaurants, you can ask that your food to be cooked without salt.

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