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High Blood Pressure: Nutrition Tips - Topic Overview

Potassium, calcium, and magnesium

Not eating enough foods containing potassium, calcium, and magnesium may contribute to high blood pressure.

To get enough of these nutrients, eat a balanced diet that contains plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, and whole grains. Most people do not need to take dietary supplements to get enough potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Good sources of potassium

All fresh fruits and vegetables and meats are good sources of potassium. Examples include the following:

  • Bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, and orange juice
  • Raw or cooked spinach, lima beans, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and artichokes
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes (cooked dried beans and peas) such as pinto beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds

Good sources of calcium

  • Low-fat dairy products (yogurt, skim milk, cheese)

Good sources of magnesium

  • Legumes (cooked dried beans and peas), seeds, and nuts
  • Halibut
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Brown rice and potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Bananas and watermelon
  • Leafy green vegetables

Dietary supplements

The safest way to ensure good nutrition is through a balanced, varied diet instead of through nutritional supplements.

Very large amounts of any of these minerals taken in the form of a supplement can cause problems, including possible death. See your doctor before taking large quantities of any supplement.

What does not lower blood pressure?

Fish and fish oil

Fish or fish oil supplements do not lower blood pressure. But eating fish can help lower your risk for heart disease.

You can eat fish as part of the DASH diet. Fish is part of heart-healthy eating. The American Heart Association suggests eating at least two servings of fish a week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best for your heart. These fish include tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines.

Garlic and onions

Although eating garlic and onions has been recommended to reduce blood pressure, evidence shows that only very small decreases in blood pressure may result.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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