According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half (47%) of adults in the United States have hypertension—also known as high blood pressure. But only 24% of those people have this condition under control.
While avoiding certain foods can help with blood pressure management, incorporating other nutrient-dense staples into your diet is just as crucial. Luckily, this healthy habit can be kickstarted during your first meal of the day.
According to our medical expert board member Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, the best breakfast combination for high blood pressure is walnut chia overnight oats with a serving of 100% orange juice.
“This breakfast is a no-fuss meal that can be prepped the night before, allowing for a grab-and-go situation, which can be a lifesaver for busy people,” Manaker says.
Read on to discover how this breakfast combination can help lower your blood pressure, and for more breakfast tips, check out The #1 Best Breakfast Combination to Lower Blood Sugar, Says Dietitian.
Chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, oats fall under the guidelines of the DASH diet. This diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is often recommended for those with high blood pressure.
“Oats may be known for their cholesterol-lowering benefits, but the fiber found in this carb is also linked to reduced blood pressure,” Manaker says. “The beta-glucan fiber may have a positive effect on blood pressure, particularly for those with obesity.”
When it comes to blood pressure-friendly oatmeal toppings, walnuts are one of the best. This can be attributed to their high levels of calcium and magnesium—two nutrients that the DASH diet emphasizes, Manaker explains.
“Walnuts are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition,” she says. “Data shows that eating them as part of a low saturated fat diet may help lower central blood pressure, a measurement of the pressure exerted on organs and a key indicator of heart health.”
Additionally, in a long-term observational study published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseasesresearchers found that participants who ate walnuts had lower diastolic blood pressure, waist circumference, and prevalence of abdominal obesity than those who did not consume the heart-healthy nut.
Despite being small in size, chia seeds pack a large punch in nutrition. Beyond adding a boost of plant-based protein to the oats, they also offer antioxidants, healthy fat, and fiber.
In addition to being celebrated for its high vitamin C content, orange juice is a good source of potassium—another nutrient highlighted by the DASH diet, Manaker says.
In a 2021 randomized controlled trial, adults with either pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension who consumed 500 milliliters of orange juice every day for 12 weeks had significantly reduced systolic blood pressure than those who didn’t drink the juice.