High blood pressure or hypertension is a common but serious condition. It is often the main reason behind various cardiovascular conditions such as stroke and heart attack.
During hypertension, the force of your blood is high and it puts a lot of pressure on your blood vessels which can make them weak, in the long run, and they become more susceptible to rupturing.
The type of diet you eat can have a huge impact on your health and can help you maintain normal blood pressure.
While a lot of foods can improve your blood pressure and are said to be heart-healthy, a lot of processed and other types of foods can dramatically increase your blood pressure and have a negative impact on your health.
So, we have enlisted some foods that can elevate your blood pressure and you must limit their intake.
Foods To Avoid With High Blood Pressure
The sodium present in salt is one of the major contributors to high blood pressure. An increased level of sodium in the body affects the water balance and thus, could cause an increase in blood pressure.
The table salt that you consume is about 40% sodium. The daily value of sodium for adults is about 2300 mg per day but it is very easy to cross the limit. Salt in moderate amounts is important for the body to maintain the electrolyte balance.
To limit the damage that can be caused by excessive sodium intake, you can either limit the consumption of salt (less than a teaspoon per day), or you can switch to alternative salts which have comparatively less sodium in them.
Canned Soups And Broths
As per this nutrient info by USDA, a 148-gram cup of canned tomato soup can contain about 558 mg of sodium which is almost 50% of the daily required amount.
Packaged or canned broths and stocks contain similar amounts of sodium. A 303-gram can of chicken vegetable soup can contain about 2140 mg of sodium and can immediately elevate your blood pressure.
Other than that, these are rich in preservatives that increase the water content in blood and this causes pressure to build on the vessel walls. With time, the walls become weak and suffer injuries.
Thus, processed meat and high-sodium food like deli meat should be avoided at all costs and rather focus on fruits, vegetables, starch, and refined grains.
Foods With High Trans Fats
Certain foods in the market are labeled as high in trans-fat and saturated fats. These fats are bad for your health, especially if you’re hypertensive.
Trans fats are artificial fats that are added to food to maintain its stability and thus increase the shelf-life of the product. An overconsumption of high fat may pose a great threat to increase chances for cardiovascular risk.
Saturated fats are bad as they are hard to break down in the body. Both of these fats can increase the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body.
This bad cholesterol deposits cholesterol in your bloodstream and increases the risk of hypertension. This indirectly increases the risk of other associated conditions such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
A great way to reduce the intake of these unhealthy fats is by avoiding processed foods like pizzas, French fries, and burgers.
You should also avoid eating pre-prepared and ready-to-make foods. Other than that, eating red meat, full-fat dairy products, and certain oils like avocado oil, in moderation can also reduce the risk of hypertension.
Pickling any food requires sodium to preserve it which prevents it from going bad quickly and increases its shelf life. Some commonly made pickles such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickled cucumbers, and their juice is rich in sodium. As per this info, one small pickled cucumber retains around 448 mg of sodium while an ounce of pickle juice contains 900 mg.
They pick up a lot of sodium because they sit in the can for too long and it’s hard to get rid of all the excess sodium they have picked.
You may avoid eating pickles or you can try replacing salted pickles by adding vinegar or citrus juice like pineapple juice as a marinade.
Caffeine activates your adrenal gland and stimulates the release of adrenaline making you feel energetic after downing a cup of coffee.
It could temporarily increase your blood pressure and the blood rushes through your vessels.
Some research studies indicate that it also acts by blocking a hormone required for keeping your vessels wide.
Thus, the vessels constrict and the diameter decreases, increasing the pressure in them.
However, the effects aren’t long-term, it has been observed that people who drink coffee regularly have an increased blood pressure than people who don’t. These effects aren’t harmful given that the people who consume caffeine are not having any medical condition or are caffeine intolerant.
In addition, habitual caffeine intake might not negatively affect people and may not give rise to hypertension.
According to many researches, it has been observed that sugar, especially highly sweetened beverages can contribute to an increase in both systolic as well as diastolic pressure indirectly by increasing the body mass in children and adolescents.
Weight gain and obesity are often related to diabetes and can result in a significant increase in the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. This cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels and causes blood pressure to increase. If you are diabetic as well, keep your nervous system healthy with Neuropure.
Although the direct effect of sugar on blood pressure is yet to be studied properly, research indicates that it can be due to the water and fluid imbalance in the blood.
Alcohol consumption has been linked with an increase in blood pressure due to many reasons. Increased consumption of alcohol can cause tremendous weight gain.
This increased body mass could lead to hypertension. Along with that, alcohol is rich in sugars and high in calories. It can cause type 2 diabetes which increases the risk of hypertension.
For people who already have hypertension, alcohol has been proven to prevent the efficacy of medication during drug interaction.
Not limiting alcohol consumption can also cause liver cirrhosis and other injuries that reduce the efficacy of drug metabolism and the medication does not work.
Thus, you should either limit the intake to one or two drinks a day or entirely cut back on drinking alcohol.
White bread contains plenty of sodium. In fact, as per USDA info, one slice of white bread of around 28 grams can contain around 134mg of sodium.
Along with that, it does not provide much fiber. Fiber can improve water balance and might reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
So, you can try replacing your regular white bread with whole-grain, brown bread so you get enough fiber and low sodium in your diet.
Frozen foods like frozen pizza are often made with specific ingredients that cause high blood pressure.
The crust of the pizza is rich in sodium and sugar. Along with that, the cheese on top is also rich in sodium and has high levels of saturated fats.
These can deposit in your blood vessels and narrow them and leave less space for blood to flow. Ultimately, the blood rushes in your vessels and causes an increase in pressure on the walls.
So, in order to cut back, you may eat a thin-crust pizza and opt for types of cheese low in sodium such as Swiss, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Along with that, you can ask for veggies as toppings to avoid any frozen meat.
Certain types of processed foods or foods high in sodium can increase the pressure on your blood vessels which can lead to their weakening and your heart becomes prone to strokes and attacks.
Always make sure to check the label of foods you’re eating to check the amount of sodium along with saturated and trans fats in them.
Along with that, also try to be physically active and exercise at least thrice a week. By introducing these small dietary and lifestyle changes in your life, you can surely maintain healthy blood pressure.
In case your hypertension is chronic, immediately seek a doctor’s advice and take the medication prescribed by them. Do not replace the medications with dietary changes until the doctor suggests so.
Rachel has been a freelance medical writer for more than 18 years. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2005 and is currently practicing as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at a Level I trauma center.