High or unhealthy low blood pressure can cause severe problems. Consuming the correct foods for low blood pressure is one of the ideal ways to get your BP higher.
What is a low blood pressure diet? A low blood pressure diet consists of the following:
- Increase sodium intake
- Consume food lower in carbohydrates
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Consume food high in folate (B9)
- Eat food high in B-12
- Consume caffeine
- Drink water to avoid dehydration
- Avoid excess alcohol
Trying to eat food to increase your blood pressure doesn’t give you a free ticket to eat what most people desire. Higher sodium doesn’t mean you can go visit your favorite fast food drive thru every day.
You have to be intelligent about it and consume things that will help you raise your pressure, not your bad cholesterol or plaque build-up.
Disclaimer: Never start a new diet or modify your current one without approval with a physician first. The nutrition tips in this article are for informational purposes only. Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Low Blood Pressure Diet
Increase Sodium Intake
For someone with low blood pressure, it’s possible they are not consuming enough salt. It’s engrained into out minds, cut back on salt, are words frequently heard. Your doctor may recommend raising sodium intake to help raise your pressure.
Why? Sodium helps to increase fluids, which raises BP 1.
What’s the best way to raise sodium intake without consuming artificial trans fats and other unhealthy foods? The following foods are salty, but won’t set you up for a heart attack down the road.
Swiss chard: This leafy green vegetable is packed with nutrients. It also contains 300 milligrams per cooked cup. Substitute them for lettuce or spinach in salads. In addition, add them to your vegetable sides as much as possible.
Scallops: Are you thinking about seafood tonight? You might want to give scallops a turn. A 3 ounce serving of scallops contains 362 milligrams of sodium. In addition, it has more than 25% of B-12s daily value.
B-12, further down on my low blood pressure diet list, helps raise pressure.
Artichokes: Another vegetable high in sodium, one large artichoke contains 150 milligrams.
Cottage Cheese: Are you ready for this one? One cup of low-fat cottage cheese contains almost 1,000 milligrams of sodium. That is almost a full days worth for someone who is looking to reduce sodium.
They do sell a low sodium version, so make sure you but the right one.
Olives: 5 olives contain about 500 milligrams of sodium. Remember that swiss chard salad I suggested? Adding 5 cut olives to it is an easy way to bump up your sodium in a healthy way. Olives contain healthy fat but don’t contain any sugar.
Canned Tuna: One 5 ounce can of chunk light tuna contains 450 milligrams of sodium. It also contains 15% of B-12 which is on my list. They sell low sodium versions, so be careful about buying the correct can.
I recently wrote an article about foods to reduce blood pressure. If you’re interested, check it out by clicking here, 35 Foods To Reduce Blood Pressure (Proven By Science).
Consume Food Lower In Carbohydrates
Meals high in carbohydrates digest quickly 2. The fast digestion can lower your blood pressure because your body requires more blood to complete the process. This is especially true with processed carbs. If you’re going to eat carbs at all, don’t eat those.
The following foods are high in carbs:
- Processed food
- Baked products like bagels, donuts, cookies and muffins
- Sugary drinks
- Cereal high in sugar
A low-carb diet has been known to lower blood pressure because people stop retaining water and salt. So, it may be better to cut back slowly and give your body time to adjust. It also makes the next section more important.
If you’re interested in a low-carb plan, there’s one which has been used successfully many times by some of my clients. It’s a 28 day plan, you can visit their website by clicking here, Keto Diet Plan.
Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals
This is a critical part of your low blood pressure diet. Large meals cause blood pressure to drop because your body has to work harder to digest the food.
Your body will send more blood to the stomach and small intestines. This leaves less blood for the rest of the body 3.
Typically, when this happens, your blood vessels will narrow so it can pump the remaining blood to the rest of the body. For some people, the blood vessels don’t constrict as much, and this lowers the pressure in the body.
To avoid drops in BP, eating smaller meals can prevent the digestive system from requiring a lot blood. This will help keep your blood pressure higher throughout the day. In addition, by drinking water prior to a meal can help keep the pressure from dropping.
Helpful hint: If your blood pressure typically drops after meals: Sit and relax after eating a big meal. Avoid getting right up and moving around. This can prevent a bout of dizziness or lightheadedness.
Consume Food High in Folate (B9)
A deficiency in folate, which helps your body make red blood cells, may lead to anemia 4. When you have anemia, your body can’t deliver enough blood, oxygen and nutrients to your organs and tissues.
Having anemia can lead to low blood pressure 5. The Following foods are high in folate:
- Lentil beans: All legumes are rich in folate but lentils particularly contain a high amount. One cup of cooked lentils contains 358 mcg of folate, which is 90% of the daily recommended value.
- Beets: One cup of raw beets contain 136 grams of folate. In addition, it’s high in sodium, making beets the perfect food for a low blood pressure diet.
- Liver: Just a 3ounce serving of beef liver contains 54% of the daily recommended value. It’s also high in B-12 which is another vitamin that helps prevent anemia.
- Asparagus: One cup of cooked asparagus contains 134 msg of folate, which is 34% of the daily recommended.
Eat Food High In B-12
Just like folate, a deficiency in vitamin B-12 may cause anemia and low blood pressure. What’s interesting about B-12, your body stores any extra amount in the liver and saves it for future use. The following foods are high in B-12:
- Lamb, veal or beef liver: All 3 of these livers contain more than the daily value recommended.
- Lamb, veal or beef kidneys: Like liver, the kidneys also contain more than the daily value needed.
- Clams: Clams are a lean source of protein. In addition, they are high in iron, antioxidants and B-12. A 3.5 ounce serving contains over 4,000% of the daily recommended value.
- Sardines: One cup of sardines contains 500% of the DV.
- Fortified cereals: For the vegetarians, a healthy cereal fortified with B-12 will provide anywhere between 30% to 200% of the daily recommended value. Be sure to check the food label and check how much B-12 is included. In addition, make sure the cereal you pick is not high in sugar.
- Fortified nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is a great source of vitamins, minerals and protein but doesn’t contain any B-12 naturally. Two tablespoons of a fortified version can contain over 700% of the daily value.
Caffeine can cause a temporary spike in blood pressure. It raises your heart rate and increases your blood pressure. Caffeine levels peak anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours 6.
A well-timed cup of coffee or caffeinated tea can help fill those gaps between meals when your blood pressure may lower.
Drink Water To Avoid Dehydration
It’s common to have high blood pressure in people chronically dehydrated. The brain sends a signal to the pituitary gland, and vasopressin is released, which constricts the blood vessels 7.
In addition, blood volume is low while dehydrated which can force the heart to work harder 8.
Avoid Excess Alcohol
Over time, the excess alcohol can raise your blood pressure and contribute to cardiovascular disease. But in the short-term, excess alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration.
Alcohol is a diuretic and it causes your body to lose fluids very quickly. A large quantity of it is something you want to leave out of your low blood pressure diet 9
More Blood Pressure Food Articles!
Article Resources: Blood Pressure Explained follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Dietary Salt Intake and Hypertension
- UCSB ScienceLine: Can you please tell me the digestive timeline for protein, fat, and starch?
- Harvard Health: Eating can cause low blood pressure
- John Hopkins Medicine: Folate-Deficiency Anemia
- American Heart Association: Low Blood Pressure – When Blood Pressure Is Too Low
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Timing of blood pressure measurement related to caffeine consumption
- National Center for Technology Information: Vassopressin
- Oxford Academic: Acute and chronic effects of hydration status on health
- Cleveland Clinic: Dehydration