An estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure. Most of them are completely unaware of it. High blood pressure (hypertension) isn’t called ‘the silent killer’ for nothing.
Hypertension can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure… among other complications. However, these complications as well as hypertension, can be avoided. Probably the most important thing you can change is your food choices.
One of the main contributors to high blood pressure is a bad diet. Excessive consumption of salt and saturated/trans fats as well as a low intake of vegetables and fruit hugely increase the risk of hypertension.
Here are some of the top foods you should avoid if you suffer from high blood pressure or want to minimize your risk of getting high blood pressure in the first place:
Sodium chloride, also known as common table salt is the biggest cause of high blood pressure. If you consume far too much too salt, this sodium in your blood stream can further increase blood pressure levels.
Limiting your sodium intake is one of the most effective ways to reduce your blood pressure. Especially if you suffer from hypertension. Most processed foods contain excessive amounts of salt. So, you should make it a habit to read the labels of any canned and packaged foods you buy.
Excessive sugar intake can lead to weight gain and obesity in people of all ages. This puts them at risk of high blood pressure, because obesity has been linked to high blood pressure.
Sugar, and especially sugary drinks, have contributed to a huge increase in obesity. You should limit on sugar intake for better heart health, especially if you are already suffering from hypertension.
Canned or bottled tomato products
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which actually provides heart health benefits. However, tomato products like tomato sauces, pastes and ketchup usually contain a lot of added salt. This can be problematic for people with high blood pressure.
Another good reason to make a habit of reading the labels of the products you buy (especially the processed ones). Try to buy low sodium tomato sauces and ketchup if available, or limit your use of them altogether.
Bacon is a processed meat. It is soaked with salt during the curing process. Bacon is also full of fat, which is a big no-no to the people with high blood pressure.
The same goes for most processed lunch and deli meats. Just a 2 ounce serving can contain 500 mg or more of sodium. replacing deli meats with fresh meats or fish can make your lunch healthier.
Frozen meals, like pizzas, chicken strips and other frozen entrees are loaded with salt. The manufacturers often add a high amounts of salt and other unwanted ingredients like flavor enhancers, high fructose corn syrup and trans fats to maintain the flavor in the meals.
One serving of frozen pizza can contain over 700 mg of sodium. That’s about half of the recommended daily intake!
Beans are high in fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. However, canned beans (like many other canned goods) tend to contain lots of sodium for preservation purposes.
You should rinse all canned beans to wash as much of the sodium off as possible before eating them.
Like many other processed foods, pre-made soups are loaded with sodium. A single serving can contain up to 900 mg of sodium! A whole can may contain over 2,000 mg of sodium!
You cannot rinse the soups to remove excess sodium like you can with canned beans. Pick the healthier pre-made soups based on the Nutrition Facts label. Find low and reduced sodium soups if available. Or better yet… make your own soup using fresh ingredients and limited salt.
While consuming alcohol in moderation may actually lower your blood pressure, drinking too much may increase it. If you have more than three drinks per day this can lead to hypertension over time.
Besides increasing your blood pressure excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of many types of cancer, as well as fatty liver.
The caffeine in coffee can cause a short but significant increase of your blood pressure. Many people who drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks regularly have a higher average blood pressure than people who don’t drink these beverages.
However, the effect of the caffeine can differ. Some regular coffee drinkers actually become tolerant to caffeine. For these people caffeine no longer has a long term effect on their blood pressure.
Most soy sauce and teriyaki sauce is loaded with sodium that can increase the risk of hypertension. However, there are low-sodium variaties available. So, again, check the food label before purchasing and go for the low-sodium variety whenever possible.
Pickle are extremely low fat and contain very little calories… which is good. However, pickles are also loaded with sodium… which is bad, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Just three medium pickles can contain up to 2,300 mg of sodium! This exceeds the recommended daily intake for both men and women. So you probably want to go easy on the pickles (and other pickled products).
Some dairy products like buttermilk and processed cheeses are high in salt as well as saturated fats. Saturated fats can increase the LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol which could increase the risk of heart disease and stroke or heart attack.
Soft drinks, sodas and other sugar sweetened beverages are usually chock full of sugar and empty calories. As mentioned earlier they are one of the root causes of the increase in obesity worldwide. As mentioned earlier obesity increases the risk of hypertension.
Are modern day diet is often one of the root causes for the growing amount of people suffering from hypertension. This is because it often consists of a lot of processed foods. These, in turn, often contain large amounts of sodium… one of the biggest no-no’s where blood pressure is concerned.
Making changes to your diet is probably one of the best things you can do to reduce high blood pressure or avoid it in the first place. Just replacing processed foods with natural, whole foods wherever possible can reduce your daily sodium intake tremendously.