The food you choose makes a difference in your body and what you eat every day plays an essential role in your overall health.
If you’re a person who has low or high blood pressure, your diet can have a significant impact on your arterial pressure. And even if you belong to neither (meaning you have good levels of blood pressure), what you eat will determine if you will become healthy or not.
High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to potential health risks or diseases over time. The most common ones that are linked to this are heart diseases, heart attack, and stroke.
Eating too much salty foods can lead to high blood pressure since your body continues to preserve a lot of fluids, causing your blood pressure and volume to proliferate.
You should also watch your sugar intake. Because consuming too much sugary foods can also increase your arterial pressure. Same goes for continuously eating saturated fats.
What you can do is to avoid certain foods that can lead to hypertension, and have a heart-healthy diet to maintain healthy levels of blood pressure.
What is high blood pressure or high arterial pressure?
Blood pressure occurs when the force of your blood pushes against your blood vessel’s walls.
Your heart pumps blood into the arteries or blood vessels, which distributes the blood all throughout your body.
A person who has hypertension has pressure in their arteries that are higher than the normal range.
In most cases, no one knows the exact reason why a person is suffering from high blood pressure. It could be family history, hormones, and weight. But the most common reason is an unhealthy diet.
The effect of the foods you eat to blood pressure
There are certain foods that can increase your blood pressure. Such as a diet high in salt, sugar, fats, and cholesterol.
And there are also foods that can lower your blood pressure. Such as foods that are very high in carbohydrates, most specifically processed carbs.
Being overweight can increase your arterial pressure, while being underweight can cause your blood pressures to drop.
Here are 14 of the foods that you need to avoid if you have high blood pressure
1. Salt or Sodium
The Himalayan pink salt is said to be the healthiest salt amongst others. Kosher salt belongs to the list too. However, no matter how healthy they are, too much can bring negative effects on your health.
Also, the sodium that is present in processed and packaged foods is the most unhealthy ones. This can cause high blood pressure in the future, or worsen the condition if you already have it.
2. Salty Snacks
Most crackers, microwavable popcorns, and chips contain high amounts of sodium.
So the next time you’re craving on something crunchy to munch, try low to non-sodium chips, pretzels, nuts, or seeds. You can also try fresh celery sticks or carrots, with hummus for dipping sauce for that satisfying, healthy crunch.
3. Deli Meat
Most processed deli meat is loaded with high sodium. This is because manufacturers use a lot of salt to preserve, cure, and season these meats.
What are deli meats? They are the hotdogs, sausages, frankfurters, and bolognas that you see in grocery stores and sidewalk stands.
4. Frozen Pizza
Pizza is delicious. But waiting for the delivery takes too long, not to mention more expensive. This is why some just preferred the frozen pizza that you can just easily reheat in the oven or microwave.
However, the ingredients that are present in it contain high amounts of sodium and saturated fat. Manufacturers added a lot of salt in it to maintain the flavor.
For a healthier and less expensive way to satisfy your pizza craving, try making your own pizza at home. You can use homemade gluten-free dough, or even wheat bread for your base, alongside your favorite vegetables, homemade tomato sauce, and low sodium cheese.
It may be too effortful, but it’s a good way to prevent or increase high blood pressure. If you love pizza, try making huge batches of the ingredients and store it in the fridge for an easy preparation the next time.
5. Pickled Foods
Although pickled foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles are vegetables, they are still preserved foods, which are often packed with a lot of sodium to stop them from decaying.
The longer vegetables are preserved in can, the more sodium they absorb. And these foods can be dangerous to consume if you have high blood pressure.
So try to limit these pickled foods and opt to make your own marinades through vinegar or juice from citrus fruits like orange, lime, and lemon. They give that natural sour flavor, but with less sodium.
6. Canned Soups
Canned soups are very convenient and easy to prepare. If you’re craving for a comfort food or not feeling well, you can just easily open a canned soup and heat it.
However, canned soups are packed with high sodium that can raise your blood pressure. Same as store-bought packaged broths.
Always make your own soup and load it with fresh vegetables and ingredients.
7. Canned Tomatoes
Just like canned soups, most canned tomatoes like pasta sauces and tomato juices contain high amounts of sodium that can elevate your blood pressure.
So the next time you’ll make spaghetti or tomato juice, use fresh tomatoes and turn them into puree. Because fresh tomatoes are rich in lycopene and are good for the heart.
Although bread doesn’t taste too salty compared to the foods mentioned above, the ingredients present in it contain plenty of sodium.
Store-bought breads have a wide range of sodium levels. Just a slice contains about 100 to 200 mg of sodium. And the majority eat not just a piece, but two.
The next time you make your sandwich, choose whole-grain gluten-free bread. Tortilla and English muffin are great options too.
High consumption of sugar can raise your blood pressure in many ways.
Store-packed juices or sugar-sweetened drinks have high levels of sugar content which can lead to weight gain. And obesity or being overweight are among the common causes of high blood pressure.
Make your own juice, shakes, or smoothies at home from fresh fruits. You can also try water-infused drinks to quench your thirst.
10. Processed Foods
Packaged foods like frozen burger patties, frozen or dried fruits and vegetables, canned beans, canned fruit cocktails, and microwavable popcorn are packed with preservatives, high sodium, and sugar to prolong stability and shelf life. And those contents can increase the risk of diabetes and hypertension.
In order to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, avoid processed foods by cooking your own meal, start eating right and healthy, and reach for organic foods.
11. Saturated Fats and Trans Fats
Most people are not aware that most foods that they consume on a daily basis have saturated fats or trans fats in it. Regular consumption of these is most often linked to increased blood pressure.
A person who has high blood pressure is best recommended to avoid these common foods that contain saturated fats and trans fats:
- Red meat
- Butter and stick margarine
- Chicken skin
- Processed meats (like bacon, sausage, salami, chorizo)
- Fatty cuts of meat
- Full fat milk and cream
- Biscuits or crackers
- Cakes, pies, cookies
- Coconut oil
- Milk and white chocolate
- Fried foods and fast foods
Cheeses are delicious and goes well with many types of food like pizza, pasta, bread, and meat. However, there are certain kinds of cheese that can potentially raise your blood pressure. Like processed hard and string cheeses that contain more sodium. Mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan cheese are the most common.
Opt for cheeses that are naturally low in sodium, such as fresh mozzarella, Swiss, ricotta, and goat cheese.
Soy sauce, salad dressings, processed vinegar, chili oil, and ketchup are all high in sodium, which can cause hypertension and raise in blood pressure.
Since these condiments add spice or more taste to your food, you consume most of them at once without even noticing. Like using mayonnaise on bread for breakfast, ketchup on sausage for lunch, salad dressing for your afternoon snack, and soy sauce on your dinner meal. Therefore, they can even be more dangerous than most of the foods mentioned here.
So the next time you’ll shop for groceries, purchase low-sodium substitutes, or when cooking try flavorful salt alternatives for added flavor.
Apart from foods and condiments, liquors can also affect your blood pressure levels. Drinking liquors occasionally, and in moderation is fine. But too much can increase the risk of high blood pressure. And if you already have it, it may even get worse, so your doctor will recommend you reduce your alcohol consumption or even refrain from it.
Alcoholic drinks also contain high calories and sugar, which can lead to obesity, increasing the risk of hypertension. Additionally, liquors may interfere with the effectiveness of any medicine you’re taking.
Foods to eat if you have high blood pressure
Eating these heart-healthy foods can regulate your blood pressure and contribute to healthy weight:
- Vegetables - such as carrots, broccoli, green beans, summer squash, and asparagus
- Fruits - such as bananas, berries, pomegranate, avocado, tomato, and apples
- Whole grains - such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and gluten-free oatmeal
- Lean protein - such as salmon, tuna, skinless chicken or turkey, and lean cuts of beef or pork
- Nuts - such as walnuts and almonds
- Low-fat dairies - such as reduced fat cheese and non-fat milk
Avoiding the foods mentioned above can help prevent high blood pressure, or worsen the condition. You can also establish weekly self-care routines that your heart will thank you for, and follow simple tips to regulate your blood pressure.