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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.