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Hypertension Treatment: Diet

There are 13 Diet treatments for Hypertension.
Written by ColleenO, vikdad1.

There are a number of ways you can use dietary modifications and supplements to help prevent and treat hypertension.

Consider the following:

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet: A diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, while rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, will help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body weight—all of which leads to a healthier heart. This is what is traditionally known as the heart-healthy diet.
    • A clinical study, called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), has found that certain healthful eating patterns can reduce blood pressure. This is called the DASH diet, and it follows many of the guidelines of the heart-healthy diet.
    • Findings from the second phase of the DASH study indicate that cutting salt intake is another effective way to lower blood pressure. Sodium intake is a risk factor for some but not all people. Doctors have traditionally advised patients with hypertension to significantly cut down on salt in the diet. However, the value of this stressful dietary change has undergone significant questioning. Consult with your physician to learn the latest recommendations.
    • For many years, the American Heart Association and other major institutions have recommended cutting down on saturated fat and increasing carbohydrates. However, growing evidence suggests that it is preferable to keep carbohydrate levels relatively low while replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fats such as olive oil.110 For more information, see the low-carbohydrate diet article.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Losing as little as 10 pounds can help decrease your heart’s workload and lower your blood pressure. Try to keep your body mass index (BMI) below 25. Exercising regularly and following one of the dietary approaches mentioned above will help with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. For information on movement and hypertension, see the body page.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol increases blood pressure and can lead to other heart problems. Moderate alcohol intake, however, is not associated with high blood pressure. (Moderate alcohol intake is two drinks or fewer per day for men and one drink or fewer per day for women.)
  • Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup: High Fructose Corn Syrup is a proven culprit in causing metabolic syndromes (including abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.) It is an artificial sweetener found in the majority of processed foods and soft drinks, and is consumed at an alarming rate in the United States and around the world despite its health detriments. Reducing your consumption of HFCS can decrease your hypertension & increase your general fitness. Learn more about the Effect of HFCS on Hypertension.

In addition to modifying your diet, you might consider incorporating some of the following foods and supplements, which are commonly recommended for hypertension and researched for this purpose:

The following foods and supplements are also sometimes recommended for hypertension, though they have not yet been thoroughly studied for this purpose:

Treatments include:


Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Hypertension

It is not yet clear how CoQ10 helps lower blood pressure. The supplement is used for other cardiovascular conditions because, among other things, it might assist the heart during times of stress on...

Read more about Hypertension and Coenzyme Q10.

Effect of Essential Fatty Acids on Hypertension

Fish oil has a number of effects on the cardiovascular system. It may help lower blood pressure by acting as a blood thinner and slightly reducing the heart rate, among other actions.

Read more about Hypertension and Fish Oil.

Effect of Fiber on Hypertension

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Read more about Hypertension and Fiber.

Effect of Fermented Milk on Hypertension

Fermenting milk can increase levels of active compounds such as GABA, a neurotransmitter that acts as a vasodilator. Vasodilators help lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, expanding...

Read more about Hypertension and Fermented Milk.

Effect of Chocolate on Hypertension

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains a number of active compounds that may explain its positive effect on blood pressure. Chocolate is rich in antioxidants in the flavonol family,...

Read more about Hypertension and Chocolate.

Effect of Calcium on Hypertension

Calcium plays a number of roles in the body. For instance, calcium is involved in the contraction and dilation of blood vessels,28 both of which affect blood pressure.

Read more about Hypertension and Calcium.

Effect of Soy on Hypertension

Soy contains several components that are believed to have effects on the body, including proteins, fiber, phospholipids, and isoflavones (phytoestrogens). Any or all of these elements might...

Read more about Hypertension and Soy.

Effect of Vitamin D on Hypertension

Vitamin D plays a number of roles in the body, some of which are just now being discovered and confirmed. Its exact role in preventing or treating hypertension is not immediately clear. One...

Read more about Hypertension and Vitamin D.

Effect of Folate on Hypertension

Folate plays a number of very important functions in the body, including cell division. Its exact role in the reduction of blood pressure is not yet clear. It may help reduce high blood pressure by a...

Read more about Hypertension and Folate.

Effect of Vitamin C on Hypertension

The exact role of vitamin C in lowering blood pressure is not yet clear. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes damaging natural substances called free radicals. It works in water,...

Read more about Hypertension and Vitamin C.

Effect of Heart-Healthy Diet on Hypertension

The idea behind a heart-healthy diet is that it supports overall health while also helping control certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Read more about Hypertension and Heart-Healthy Diet.

Effect of DASH Diet on Hypertension

The eating pattern outlined in the DASH diet promotes healthier blood pressure levels (and heart health in general) because of what it includes and excludes.1 Specifically:

  • Magnesium,...

Read more about Hypertension and DASH Diet.


  1. Kato H, Taguchi T, Okuda H, et al. Antihypertensive effect of chitosan in rats and humans. J Tradit Med. 1994;11:198-205.
  2. Chiu KW, Fung AY. The cardiovascular effects of green beans ( Phaseolus aureus), common rue ( Ruta graveolens), and kelp ( Laminaria japonica) in rats. Gen Pharmac. 1997;29:859-862.
  3. Merchant RE, Andre CA. A review of recent clinical trials of the nutritional supplement Chlorella pyrenoidosa in the treatment of fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001;7:79-80,82-91.
  4. Nissen S, Sharp RL, Panton L, et al. ß-hydroxy-ß-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation in humans is safe and may decrease cardiovascular risk factors. J Nutr. 2000;130:1937-1945.
  5. Reshef N, Hayari Y, Goren C, et al. Antihypertensive effect of sweetie fruit in patients with stage I hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2005;18:1360-1363.
  6. Park YK, Kim JS, Kang MH, et al. Concord grape juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in Korean hypertensive men: Double-blind, placebo controlled intervention trial. Biofactors. 2005;22:145-147.
  7. McMackin CJ, Widlansky ME, Hamburg NM, et al. Effect of combined treatment with alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine on vascular function and blood pressure in patients with coronary artery disease. J Clin Hypertens. 2007;9:249-255.
  8. Inoue K, Shirai T, Ochiai H, et al. Blood-pressure-lowering effect of a novel fermented milk containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in mild hypertensives. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57:490-495.
  9. Hayakawa K, Kimura M, Yamori Y. Role of the renal nerves in gamma-aminobutyric acid-induced antihypertensive effect in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Eur J Pharmacol. 2005;524:120-125.
  10. Hayakawa K, Kimura M, Kasaha K, et al. Effect of a gamma-aminobutyric acid-enriched dairy product on the blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive and normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats. Br J Nutr. 2004;92:411-417.
  11. Hayakawa K, Kimura M, Kasaha K, et al. Effect of a gamma-aminobutyric acid-enriched dairy product on the blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive and normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats. Br J Nutr. 2004;92:411-417.
  12. Hayakawa K, Kimura M, Kamata K. Mechanism underlying gamma-aminobutyric acid-induced antihypertensive effect in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Eur J Pharmacol. 2002;438:107-113.
  13. Yamakoshi J, Fukuda S, Satoh T, et al. Antihypertensive and natriuretic effects of less-sodium soy sauce containing gamma-aminobutyric acid in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007;71:165-173.
  14. Hirata H, Kimura M, Nakagawa S, et al. Hypotensive effect of fermented milk containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in subjects with high normal blood pressure. Journal of the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology. 2004;51:79-86.
  15. Edwards RL, Lyon T, Litwin SE, et al. Quercetin reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. J Nutr. 2007;137:2405-2411.

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