What can you eat to bring down your blood pressure if it is too high?
With diabetes, you have an increased risk for high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension. The good news is, like diabetes, hypertension can be managed. Both lifestyle changes and medication can help you lower your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor to see if you need blood pressure medication. Making lifestyle changes (which includes your diet) is always an important part of managing high blood pressure and can also help control your blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Start making some changes to your diet. Many foods that can help lower blood pressure are also diabetes-friendly. Focus on filling your meal plan with these foods:
- Vegetables (especially non-starchy)
- Whole-grain, high-fiber foods
- Fat-free and low-fat dairy
- Fish, skinless poultry, lean meats, and meat substitutes
Foods to limit with hypertension are similar to the foods to limit with diabetes including: foods high in added sugars, trans fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Try using cooking methods that do not require you to add fat (such as baking, grilling, broiling, microwaving).
Sodium can be tricky, because we often don’t realize how much sodium is in the foods we eat. For some people, lowering sodium can make a big difference in lowering blood pressure. Foods that are usually high in sodium include:
- Frozen meals
- Canned goods
- Table salt
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Processed meats and cold cuts
- Pickled foods like pickles and olives
- Many restaurant and fast foods
Compare the amount of sodium in foods by looking at the nutrition facts. Many foods, like soups and canned vegetables, have lower-sodium versions. Choose these when they are available.
Other lifestyle changes can also help. Try losing weight, increasing the amount of physical activity that you do, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking.
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