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Improving Diastolic Blood Pressure with Food

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
April 13, 2023
April 30, 2024

If you've always had normal systolic blood pressure and no other health issues, but the diastolic is high, it's currently not a sign of a problem — yet. People with elevated diastolic blood pressure often develop elevated systolic blood pressure over time. If you have other cardiovascular risk factors, any elevation in diastolic blood pressure — even if it's small — significantly increases your risk of cardiovascular problems. A diastolic blood pressure above 80 is considered elevated. If you are reading this, it's likely that you're already wondering how to bring it down naturally.

There are some foods correlated with lowering diastolic blood pressure readings that I'll discuss below that may ease this strain on your heart.

Add More: Potassium

  • Avocados, Bananas, Cantaloupe, Dried fruits, Honeydew, Kiwi, Mangos, Oranges & orange juice, Papaya, Prune juice

Have Less: Caffeine, Salt, and Sugar

Caffeine- (complete list of caffeine containing foods found here)

  • Found in energy and some electrolyte drinks,
  • Coffee, black, and green teas, coffee and green tea-flavored foods
  • Caffeinated sodas- coke, pepsi, mountain dew, Dr Pepper, Surge, and others
  • Chocolate
  • OTC pills and supplements for weight loss and some pain pills like Excedrin Migrane, Midol and Bayer back & body

Salt/sodium- Limit foods that are packaged or preserved or cured with salt or sodium, including:

  • cured meats, lunchmeat, cheese
  • pickles, olives, dressings and sauces

Sugar- limit some obvious and many sneaky culprits

  • pastries and desserts
  • seemingly healthy diet foods like fat free yogurts, granola bars, energy drinks, low calorie or all-natural cereals
  • excess fruit and dried fruit, in excess of 3 servings per day
Many cereals are loaded with fiber, but not all are healthy: ½ cup Fiber One has 14g fiber, 9g sugar; 1 cup Raisin Bran= 7.5g fiber, 13g sugar; 1 cup oatmeal = 6 g fiber, 1.5g sugar. Which do you think is better? Ask your Dietitian!

If your blood pressure routinely creeps above 80 take steps to lower it by quitting smoking, cutting down on salt intake, controlling diabetes, losing weight and keeping your cholesterol levels within normal limits to reduce your risk.

To effectively address your situation, I encourage you to make an appointment with your doctor to assess your elevated diastolic blood pressure and, based on your health history and other medical issues, develop a plan to manage it appropriately.

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