How to Eat to Lower Your Blood Pressure  

April 18, 2018


Written by: Jessica Siegel, Gelson’s Registered Dietitian

More Americans than ever have unhealthy blood pressure, which can increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack. You may be surprised to know that with recent guideline changes only readings at or below 119/79 mmHg are considered healthy. The sodium we eat is a significant contributor to our blood pressure and heart disease risk. My April Nutrition Notes newsletter explains this relationship and the strategies you can use to cut the sodium in your diet, as well as other lifestyle measures you can take to lower your blood pressure.

Certain foods contribute the most sodium to our diets since they have a lot of added salt and we tend to eat them daily and in large quantities. Check out this graphic of the Top Sources of Sodium in our diets:

Top Food Sources of Sodium in the US (in descending order)

  1. Bread and rolls
  2. Cold cuts and cured meats
  3. Sandwiches and burgers
  4. Pizza
  5. Soups
  6. Chicken dishes
  7. Cheese
  8. Pasta dishes
  9. Beef and other meat dishes
  10. Snack foods like chips, pretzels, and popcorn
  11. Condiments
  12. Mexican dishes
  13. Desserts
  14. Rice dishes

To help you find lower sodium alternatives, I’ve compiled this Very Low Sodium Foods Shopping List with foods that can be found at your local Gelson’s that both meet my criteria for being healthful and have 100 mg of sodium or less per serving. Additionally, look for my name in our Service Deli case to help identify items that are controlled for sodium. The “Jessica” items I create adhere to the principles of the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet and are limited in sodium and added sugars.

I’ve also written three delicious, lower sodium recipes that address some of the top sources of sodium from the above list: bread, cold cuts, soups, and condiments. Try my Truffled Spring Pea Soup,Artichokes with Aioli, and Open-Faced Turkey Salad Tartines.

Shop for some of my favorite sodium-conscious foods with Instacart: