Some of the best foods that lower blood pressure are vegetables rich in nitrates you can buy at the grocery store or local produce market. These nitrate-rich foods are so helpful thanks to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas that the body naturally produces. NO plays a vital role in various functions in the body. Nitric oxide is a key contributor to our overall health and wellness. Nitric oxide also is responsible for a multitude of health benefits such as:

  • Bone Health
  • Immune Support
  • Brain Health
  • Lung health
  • Skin Health

Thankfully, many foods high in nitrates serve as a natural NO booster once eaten.

How Do Nitrates Convert Into Nitric Oxide?

There are a few ways to produce nitric oxide in the body. One of these ways is through the conversion of nitrates from vegetables. This begins as soon as you eat these vegetables. While we are chewing up the vegetables, the oral bacteria convert nitrates into nitrite. As this food and nitrites begin going through the digestive system into the GI tract, nitrite converts into nitric oxide.

What Does This Conversion Have To Do With Lower Blood Pressure?

Simply put, one of nitric oxide’s big roles in the body is lowering blood pressure. This means any vegetables high in nitrates and other NO precursors are also great for lowering blood pressure. Any nitric oxide booster will also help lower blood pressure so for that alone, it is worth eating some of the foods we will go over. Nitric oxide helps to lower blood pressure via vasodilation. This is the expansion of blood vessels in the presence of nitric oxide. As blood vessels expand, blood can flow better. This in turn allows for more efficient oxygen and nutrient delivery throughout the body. However, for today, all we are focusing on is lowering blood pressure.

Why does this matter? High blood pressure is one of the most common risk factors reserach assicates with an increased risk of heart disease. Fortunately for us, it is a risk we can take action against to reduce or offset significantly with the right lifestyle changes.

A Change In Diet Can Lower Blood Pressure

One of these changes easy enough to make is a change in diet. A strong heart-healthy diet includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean protein sources. This article will list several foods that will improve your heart health and lower blood pressure by boosting nitric oxide naturally.

Foods That Will Lower Blood Pressure

1. Beets And Beetroot

Beets and beetroot are one of the best sources of dietary nitrates. Not only that, beets contain high levels of potassium, which is also helpful in regulating blood pressure. While promoting lower blood pressure, beets also carry other health benefits such as improved exercise performance. There have been studies that show consuming beets can lower blood pressure levels in older and overweight individuals.

Because of the support beets have for reducing blood pressure, they are best to consume as often as possible. Furthermore, the leafy green part of the beet is also edible, so don’t skip out on it.

Try to get fresh beets from the produce section as this will contain the densest concentration of nutrients. Beets can be cooked and eaten in salads, used as a base for hummus, and can be blended into smoothies. Beets are also popular in certain slaws and mashed to be used as a dip or spread.

2. Arugula

This spicy leafy green has probably one of the highest concentrations of nitrates in nature, even more so than beets in some measurements. Arugula has studies that show consuming it can help with endothelial function and blood pressure regulation. Adding arugula to your diet may help lower blood pressure due to the high level of nitrate found in it.

Arugula is great cooked or uncooked. It makes a great addition to salads, on sandwiches, as a pizza topper, and as a garnish in soups and pasta.

3. Kale

Kale is another leafy green vegetable with a high nitrate concentration. This means since nitrates convert into nitric oxide, consuming kale may help lower blood pressure. Eating kale also has a reputation for promoting a healthy microbiome in the mouth. Kale also contains antioxidants such as quercetin which help destroy free radicals that inhibit nitric oxide production.

Kale is a common ingredient in various salads. Furthermore, you can add kale to your diet by blending it in smoothies and cooking it. However you want to consume kale, doing so may help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation in the body.

4. Spinach

Not only does this popular leafy green contain adequate levels of nitrates, but also contains high levels of potassium, folate, and magnesium. Furthermore, spinach contains lutein. Lutein helps prevent artery walls from thickening. This reduces the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Spinach can be eaten cooked or uncooked. It is great in a salad or smoothie. They are also great steamed or sautéed. If you are serious about lowering your blood pressure, spinach is a tasty and healthy addition to your diet.

5. Celery

Celery is a popular vegetable for those looking to lose weight. This vegetable also has a decent nitrate concentration as well as compounds called phthalides. These compounds may act similar to nitric oxide by relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.

Like many vegetables, celery is great consumed raw or cooked. A common snack is celery dipped in a variety of sauces and and spreads. These include hummus, peanut butter, cheese sauce, and dressings.

6. Cucumber

This vegetable breaks away from the nitrate-rich options, but still has merit for lowering blood pressure. Cucumber is a great source of L-citrulline, an amino acid that helps produce NO in the body. L-citrulline converts into L-arginine in the body, which is then further converted into nitric oxide. Another reason to add cucumbers to your diet is because they are rich in potassuim. Potassium helps to reduce water retenion brought on by excess sodium. Because of this, potassium helps to lower blood pressure.

Cucumbers are enjoyed raw mostly, sliced up and eaten as is, lightly salted, or dipped in your favorite sauces and spreads such as hummus and dressings. You can also chop them up for a salad and even add them to your drinking water. Any way you want to slice it, cucumbers are an excellent choice for reducing blood pressure.

7. Mixed Berries

Since this article is not just about vegetables that can lower blood pressure (might be a later article), it seems fitting to branch out and add some other healthy foods. For me, this includes berries. Berries are a delcious and healthy treat you should absolutely have in your diet. Berries are potentially able to help reduce blood pressure as well as benefit the body in various other ways. One of the biggest benefits to eating berries are the antioxidants. Most berries have tons of antioxidants such as anthocyanins, flavanoids, and quercetin. In particular, berries containing anthocyanins are able to increase nitric oxide levels in the body, which means the vasodilation resulting from the nitric oxide will reduce blood pressure.

Some of the berries with anthocyanins and other nitric oxide boosting antioxidants include:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Pomegranate
  • Cranberries
  • Blackberries
  • Elderberries

These are all best eaten raw. Give them a quick rinse and just eat a couple handfuls of them to reap the benefits. Berries are low-calorie and nutrient-dense so are a great snack. You can also add them to salads or smoothies.

8. Beans And Lentils

If you are in need of a protein source that is not meat but still has health benefits, here you go. While a lean meat is best for protein, beans and other lentils still have plenty of protein and help lower blood pressure thanks to the fiber and potassium they contain.

Beans need to be cooked to be eaten, and must be cooked thoroughly to avoid certain stomach issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Certain beans contain lectin, a protein that causes intestinal distress if beans are not cooked thoroughly. However, not all beans contain lectic, so just be mindful of your choice in bean. Make sure you follow the soaking and cooking instructions that come with your choice of bean. A good rule of thumb is to soak them overnight before you cook them, and let them boil for at least an hour or until tender. There are canned and pre-cooked options in stores as well if you are worried about doing them wrong or do not want to take the time to prep them. Beans are great alone or paired with other foods such as rice, meat, and vegetables.

Choosing The Right Foods To Lower Blood Pressure

Just to clarify, there are certainly more than eight foods that will help lower blood pressure. This list serves as a starting point. There are numerous factors that will dictate what foods you choose to add to your diet. Some of those factors include:

  • Diet you currently follow
  • Dietary preference
  • Food allergies
  • Food sensitivities such as gluten
  • Diet needed based on medically-diagnosed nutrient deficiencies such as anemia

Be sure to consult your doctor if you are worried about adding a specific food to your diet. For most people, these foods are generally safe and healthy choices. Be sure to do your due diligence and find foods that are right for your needs and lifestyle.

All of these listed will help you lower your blood pressure, but if you want to look for others, look for foods high in nitrates, L-citrulline, and L-arginine as a starting point. Foods high in potassium and magnesium will also help as well.

Be sure to share this article with someone who needs help lowering their blood pressure. For more education on nitric oxide and living a healthy life, check out the rest of our blog here.

8 Best Foods That Lower Blood Pressure