Beyond salt: best and worst foods to prevent high blood pressure

If you’re among the 103 million Americans with high blood pressure, then you’ve probably already stopped using the salt shaker. Unfortunately, you could still be getting sodium from lots of other sources. If you have high blood pressure, you need to eliminate certain foods that can raise your blood pressure and replace them with foods that can lower it.

At Essential Medical Clinic in the Westlake, Downtown, and Athens neighborhoods of Los Angeles, our doctors, Sultan Shah, MD, and Pouya Bahrami, DO, are here to cover all of your health care needs, including helping you deal with high blood pressure. That’s why we’ve compiled this helpful guide to the best and worst foods for your high blood pressure.   

Foods to avoid

Unfortunately, in our modern times, much of our food is heavily processed. And heavily processed foods often have lots of salt. If you have high blood pressure and want to cut out as much salt as possible, try to avoid these foods:

Cold cut sandwiches

Cold cut sandwiches may sound like a quick and easy solution for your lunch break, but they’re usually loaded with sodium. The deli meat is the worst offender, since it’s usually cured, preserved, and seasoned with salt. A mere 2-ounce serving of lunch meat usually contains at least 500 milligrams of sodium. 

Other ingredients in the sandwich may increase your sodium levels as well. Ingredients, such as pickles and cheese, are usually processed with high amounts of salt. Furthermore, sodium can be hiding in the sauces, dressings, and even in the bread itself.

Frozen foods 

Frozen foods are usually heavily processed with salt as well. Try to stay away from TV dinners, frozen pizzas, and ready-made appetizers. A single serving of frozen pizza can contain more than 700 milligrams of sodium. 


Eating lots of sugar isn’t just a problem for diabetics. Consuming a high quantity of sugar has also been linked to high blood pressure.


While small-to-moderate amounts of alcohol can lower your blood pressure, drinking too much can spike it. This can happen if you have more than three drinks in a single sitting. Alcohol can also impair how blood pressure medications work.

Foods to eat

If you battle high blood pressure, one thing that can help you in your fight is to eat a healthy diet. Your diet should focus on lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, legumes, and lots of fruits and vegetables. 

You’ll also want to eat plenty of the following foods:

Leafy greens 

These particular kinds of greens are high in potassium, which helps the body process and remove sodium. Examples of leafy greens include kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula, swiss chard, and collard greens. Avoid canned vegetables, as most canned foods are high in sodium.


Berries are rich in flavonoids, which both help to prevent the development of hypertension and the spiking of blood pressure levels. Among the berries you should consume are blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. 

Seeds and nuts

If you have high blood pressure, make sure to eat plenty of unsalted seeds and nuts. This is because seeds and nuts are high in minerals — such as magnesium and potassium — which can help lower blood pressure. So when you want a snack, reach for some almonds, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds.

If you have high blood pressure — or want to see if you do — and want help treating it, book an appointment online or over the phone with Essential Medical Clinic today.

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