In America, nearly one in every three adults is quietly living with high blood pressure. Approximately another one third of American adults have hypertension, a condition in which blood pressure is higher than normal and puts them at great risk of developing high blood pressure at some stage.
Studies have found that African-Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure and that too at an earlier age, as compared to whites and Mexican-Americans. Within African-Americans, women are more prone to develop high blood pressure and have higher rate of hospitalization than African-American men.
What causes high blood pressure? Among other things, diet can be a major cause for developing high blood pressure. Studies have shown high salt and sodium intake, low potassium intake – because of not enough consumption of fruits and vegetables – and excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to high blood pressure conditions.
There are enough studies to support the fact that by eating healthy diet, you can lower your blood pressure and control hypertension. The foods that help you lower your blood pressure include lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, there are also a lot of worst foods that cause high blood pressure.
What Foods Cause High Blood Pressure
To control your high blood pressure, you should cut down on salt, caffeine, white flour, alcohol, deep-fried foods, smoking, refined sugar, preservatives, etc. Specifically, here is a run-down on 11 worst foods that obstruct your ability to lower high blood pressure and prevent hypertension.
1. Salt: Salt and sodium are the main culprits for high blood pressure and hypertension. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the people suffering from hypertension or pre-hypertension should limit their daily sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams. As against this the average American consumes around 3,400 milligrams, more than twice of that.
Sodium is not only a worst food for people having high blood pressure, but bad also for osteoporosis. Some recent studies have shown that the increased salt intake can contribute to an increase in cancers of the stomach, esophagus, and bladder.
Additionally, some experts say that salt may cause your fat cells to hold more fat. It’s a known fact that curtailing on sodium intake is a good way to reduce your waistline, which is good for your blood pressure.
Discarding the salt shaker at table is an obvious first step, but do you know that about 75 percent of sodium we eat comes from packaged and restaurant foods. Accordingly, you need to cut back drastically on processed meat, frozen pizza, canned soup and juices, canned or bottled tomato products and Chinese food. Always remember that salt makes you hungrier, thirstier and it increases your cravings.
Suggestion: So what to do? Swap salt with herbs and healthy spices, such as, fennel, garlic, oregano, basil and tarragon.
2. Processed Meat: Steer clear of processed meat, including ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs and lunch-meats. The meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or with addition of chemicals can be sodium bombs. When you eat a three-ounce serving of such meats, you easily consume about 1,200 mg of sodium. And if you are suffering from high blood pressure, you have already near to your daily quota of sodium of 1,500 mg of salt a day.
Suggestion: Stay away from these meats or at least opt for lesser sodium varieties. Also avoid adding cheese, condiments, chutneys and pickles to your sandwich, as otherwise you will get into a sodium trap!
3. Frozen Pizza: In fact all pizzas can be bad, if you have high blood pressure. The combination of dough, cheese, tomato sauce, cured meats adds up the milligrams of sodium to get convert into a sodium bomb. But frozen pizza can easily clock in at close to 2400 mg sodium and especially dangerous for those who are having hypertension. After the pizza has been cooked, the manufacturers usually add a lot of salt to maintain the flavor in the frozen pizza. In case of thicker crust and more toppings, higher will be sodium number.
Suggestion: Make at home your own low fat cheese, and use lean meat and extra veggies.
4. Saturated and Trans Fats: Chicken skin is full of saturated fat. Full-fat dairy, red meat, and butter are high in trans fats and are created in a process known as hydrogenation. Increased consumption of saturated and trans-fats increase your LDL that is bad cholesterol. High LDL levels deteriorate your hypertension, and can cause development of coronary heart disease.
5. Ready-to-eat Meals and Side Dishes: No doubt they are convenient for you, but they come fully loaded with sodium. A 5-ounce frozen turkey and gravy dinner is laden with about 787 milligrams of sodium.
Suggestion: Opt for brands with low sodium.
6. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Mostly people know that excess sugar is associated with increased cases of weight gain, obesity, blood sugar and diabetes. But very few know that excess sugar intake can contribute to high blood pressure levels as well. A reason is that the overweight and obese individuals are more likely to have high blood pressure.
Suggestion: Add sugars to minimum. Avoid sugary beverages like soft drinks, iced tea and fruit punch.
7. Canned and Pickled Vegetables: No doubt they are great alternatives when fresh is not available, but they come laden with preservatives, sauces and seasonings that are full of sodium. A cup of typically canned cream-style corn can contain up to 730 milligrams of sodium.
Suggestion: Always have a look at the nutrition facts label. Opt for those with “no salt added” and “reduced sodium”.
8. Canned and Instant Soups: They are easy to prepare – especially when you are in hurry or not feeling well, but at a price of consuming high amount of sodium. Just one serving of some soups can load you with up to 890 milligrams of sodium or more. And if you consume a full can, you will be loaded with 2,225 milligrams of sodium. Canned and packaged broths and stocks too are filled with sodium and bad and let down your attempt to lower high blood pressure.
Suggestion: Opt for low sodium and reduced sodium or no salt added brands. To keep the sodium intake in control, you can prepare your own from low sodium recipe. Another alternative is to use half of the accompanying seasoning packet.
9. Canned or Bottled Tomato Products and Juices: If you are having hypertension, avoid canned tomato sauces, pasta sauces, and tomato juices as they are loaded with sodium. One serving of spaghetti with meat sauce contains about 1,300 milligrams of sodium. A cup of tomato juice increases your sodium intake by about 650 milligrams of sodium.
Suggestion: Look out for low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions.
10. Chinese Food Sauces: Do you know sauces in Chinese dishes are full of sodium. Something as un-harmful sounding as Beef with Broccoli can be a sodium bomb – unbelievably about 3,752 milligrams of sodium. It is all due to the ingredients like soy sauce and Teriyaki sauce. Just a tablespoon of such innocent looking sauces may have about 1,000 milligrams of sodium.
Suggestion: Order the sauces on the side and use them thriftily.
11. Alcohol: Consuming excess alcohol can increase your blood pressure to damaging levels. It also increases your calories intake, leading to unwanted weight gain – a known risk factor for hypertension. Worse still, alcohol can intrude with the effectiveness of blood pressure medications that you may be taking and upsurge their side effects.
Suggestion: Cut back on consuming alcohol and if you must then take it in small amounts.
Smart Eating Tactics
If you are suffering from hypertension, a few smart eating tactics can save you from further blood pressure spurs and may even help you in lowering your blood pressure. Opt for low-sodium or reduced-sodium or trans-fat free foods that can help you in avoiding foods that are bad for your blood pressure. Remember eating for hypertension diagnosed people is not deprivation, but instead it’s all about eating smart to add those foods that lower blood pressure and avoid those that increase blood pressure levels.
If you know of any foods to avoid with high blood pressure, you may add under comments below for the benefit of other readers.