Cooking Oils for High Blood Pressure

Close-up of a bottle of herbs in olive oil
A bottle of olive oil and herbs. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to more serious problems if you do not address the issue early. Heart disease is a serious concern that can affect those afflicted with untreated hypertension. The American Heart Association recommends that people with heart disease eat a well-balanced diet low in sodium and saturated fats. Solid fats, such as butter and margarine, contribute a high level of saturated fat to your diet, so the AHA suggests switching to healthier alternatives. Liquid cooking oils can be used in place of solid fats for cooking and flavoring foods.

Canola

Canola oil is derived from the rapeseed, which is a flowering plant in the cabbage family. This liquid cooking oil contains mostly monounsaturated fats, which are good for heart health and high blood pressure. It contains just 7 percent saturated fats and a relatively high amount of polyunsaturated fat -- good fat -- at 35 percent, according to FatFreeKitchen.com.

Safflower

Safflower oil is made from a spiny plant, which produces seeds the oil is extracted from. Its fat composition is 9 percent saturated fat, 78 percent polyunsaturated and 13 percent monounsaturated. It’s an ideal cooking to use for stir-frying vegetables or in place of a salad dressing. Safflower oil contains the second fewest saturated fat by percentage next to canola oil, making it a healthy choice for anyone looking to improve the health of their cardiovascular system.

Sunflower

Produced from sunflower seeds, this cooking oil supplies the highest level of vitamin E when compared to all other vegetable oils. Vitamin E plays a role in normalizing blood pressure, so it’s important to get enough of it in your diet -- 15 mg per day for most adults. Each tbsp. of sunflower oil contains 5.6 mg of vitamin E, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements -- a branch of the National Institutes of Health.

Soybean

Soybean oil is just 13 percent saturated fat. The rest of its fat composition consists of 61 percent polyunsaturated and 24 percent monounsaturated fats. It’s an ideal choice for cooking vegetables at a low heat or simply using it to add flavor to a salad. Solid forms of soybean oils may be used to produce butter and margarine, but these should be avoided. They may contain unhealthy trans-fats that can actually put you at a higher risk of heart disease in the long run. Stick to the liquid version of soybean oil.

Olive

Olive oil has a high smoke temperature, making it an ideal choice for frying foods. It’s also comparatively high in monounsaturated fat at 74 percent of its total fat composition. This type of fat helps to reduce your risk of heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil is particularly good for high blood pressure because it contains more vitamin E than virgin, pure or extra light varieties.

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