11 Best Low-Sodium Snacks for High Blood Pressure
If our headline caught your eye, you're looking for the best low-sodium snacks either because you have high blood pressure or you are trying to avoid becoming hypertensive. Smart move. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and it is often linked to a diet high in sodium. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern, but the average American far exceeds that recommendation by 1,100 milligrams. It's important to get control of the so-called "'silent disease," before it controls you.
Below you'll find examples of the best low-sodium snack foods recommended by dietitians and you can also review this list of Foods You Must Give Up if You Don't Want High Blood Pressure.
Before you start snacking, however, we recommend you consider your overall diet if you have concerns about high blood pressure and get to know the DASH Diet recommendations. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, an important clinical trial that tested the effects of certain eating patterns on blood pressure.
"The original study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that the DASH Diet was based on showed that folks who ate fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to those eating a traditional American diet or eating only more fruits and vegetables," says registered dietitian Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, a member of our medical review board.
Another key component of the diet was reducing saturated and total fat consumption. Researchers say the combination of low-saturated fat and high consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products substantially lowered the blood pressures of test subjects with hypertension.
Keep that healthy combination in mind as you plan your meals. And it's worth reiterating that no matter what you choose to snack on, be conscious of the sodium content and remember the lower the better; however, "what really counts is your overall dietary habits, so if you are sticking to low sodium foods all day, an occasional pickle or olive snack won't make or break your diet," says medical review board member and registered dietitian nutritionist Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD.
As for snack time, sample some of these low-sodium delicious and healthful treats to manage blood pressure.
Frozen Bananas and Chocolate
When you think of potassium-rich foods, what comes to mind? Of course, bananas. So, bananas make a great portable health snack for reducing blood pressure, since potassium reduces blood pressure. But here's how to turn the fruit into a Popsicle-like snack treat: Freeze it and drizzle it with melted dark chocolate, suggests medical board member and registered dietitian nutritionist Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim.
Whisps Cheese Crisps & Nuts
"I recommend Whisps Cheese Crisps & Nut snack mixes for folks with high blood pressure to snack on because they provide nuts, which are part of the DASH Diet," says Amidor. "They are made with real skim milk cheese so they're a good source of calcium and sodium is low, ranging between 170 to 180 milligrams per serving or 7 to 8% of the recommended daily amounts, which is very reasonable for this filling snack."
Whisps Cheese Crisps & Nuts come in Smoky Barbecue, Garlic Herb, and Tangy Ranch flavors, each packing about 9 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of sugar per serving. "The fat is mainly unsaturated fat, which comes from the nuts," says Amidor.
Shelled unsalted walnuts are a terrific snack substitute for potato chips. They are superb for overall heart health since they are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. And a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that replacing saturated fats with walnuts or vegetable oils improves blood pressure a blood fat in people at risk for cardiovascular disease. Instead of munching walnuts plain, try a yogurt parfait topped with blueberries and crushed walnuts. "This is a super healthy snack, as it's rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium, perfect for regulating blood pressure," says Dr. Young.
Mango Probiotic Fruit Bar
A meta-analysis in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension suggests that eating probiotics to improve the makeup of one's gut microbiome may be an effective way to improve blood pressure. The studies involved participants consuming probiotics with live bacteria such as those found in yogurt.
"Packaged snacks like the Mango Probiotic Fruit Bar from That's It. may be beneficial for blood pressure control since it contains zero grams of sodium and a boost of live probiotics," says Manaker.
Wyman's Just Fruit, Strawberries, Maine Wild Blueberries & Banana Bites
Manaker also likes Wyman's Just Fruit, Strawberries, Maine Wild Blueberries & Banana Bites as a low-sodium snack. It has zero sodium and packs just 40 calories per serving. "Wild blueberries have the highest concentrations of anthocyanins of commonly consumed berries and studies link these anthocyanins to increased endothelial nitric oxide, potentially helping to dilate blood vessels and result in lower blood pressure.
A Beet Treat
A healthy blood-pressure-lowering snack would be anything you can conjure up using beetroot juice (like smoothies) or beets (like salads). "Studies suggest that dietary nitrate (found in beetroot juice and beets) promotes vasodilation or the relaxation and opening of the blood vessels) which contributes to overall reduced systemic blood pressure," says registered dietitian and certified diabetes care education specialist Justine Rosado, RD, CDN, CDCES, co-founder of the telehealth nutrition business The Nutrition Queens.
Rosado, who started her career as a professional chef, suggests snacking on shaved beet salad, spiralized beets, or roasted beets, peeled and cubed over yogurt and topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Celery Sticks & Peanut Butter
What could be quicker for snacking than cutting up a few celery stalks and slathering on some peanut butter? Celery sticks and all-natural peanut butter are one of Rosado's go-to low-sodium hunger busters. Celery contains phytochemicals that relax the linings of arteries to increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Plus celery stalk is low in sodium and also provides the blood-pressure-regulating minerals potassium and magnesium.
Remember that "including more potassium-rich foods in your diet is another healthy habit [to manage blood pressure] as it may help 'flush out' some of the excess sodium in your body," Manaker says.
Just be sure to dip your sticks in all-natural peanut butter, which has no sodium. (Many brands add salt, sugar, and palm oil.) Grind your own or check for labels that list only one ingredient: peanuts.
Cottage Cheese and Greek Yogurt
The combination of the protein in yogurt and cottage cheese and fiber in berries and whole wheat crackers provides a hunger-satisfying snack that sticks with you, keeping you from reaching for packaged snacks that tend to be high in sodium. Plus, "cottage cheese has calcium and potassium to help fight elevated blood pressure and no-salt cottage cheese if very low in sodium," says the co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health and Happiness.
Cheerios and Milk
You've seen the ads touting that All-American classic cereal Cheerios for lowering cholesterol, but did you know oat cereals are good for heart health for another reason? A study in the Journal of Family Practice found that simply adding oat cereal to the diets of hypertension patients significantly reduced both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The researchers say any whole oat cereal rich in soluble fiber may be an effective therapy to prevent and treat high blood pressure.
UNREAL Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Dark chocolate contains natural flavonols that may play a positive role on blood pressure, says Manaker. "Results of a meta-analysis in BMC Medicine show dark chocolate is superior to placebo in reducing systolic hypertension or diastolic prehypertension," she shares.
So, if you like the combo of chocolate and peanut butter as a snack, give UNREAL Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups a shot.
You now know about the blood-pressure-lowering power of potassium, but have you heard of L-citrulline? The amino acid gets its name from Citrullus vulgaris, which is Latin for watermelon. Watermelon contains both potassium and L-citrulline. And a meta-analysis of studies in the Nutrition & Food Science showed that 8-weeks of L-citrulline supplementation lowered blood pressures of subjects in at-risk populations. L-citrulline converts to another amino acid, L-arginine, in the body. L-arginine is a vasodilator, meaning it opens blood vessels and makes them more flexible, which is why it's helpful for treating heart conditions and hypertension.