As well we know, appropriate diet is very crucial when it comes to lowering high blood pressure (hypertension). While there are plenty of healthy foods to help deal with, certain foods are bad for blood pressure. Here are the list of some bad foods when you have hypertension.
Foods high salt (sodium)
It’s undeniable that salt or sodium is bad for your blood pressure (BP). The reason is due to sodium can retain fluid /water in the body. This causes increased volume of blood through your arteries. as a result, your systolic blood pressure can increase.
Actually, it is OK to get some sodium from your diet. The body needs it for some body functions. But go in moderation or follow as your doctor suggests!
It may be almost impossible to follow diet 100% free of salt. Again, sodium is also needed by the body — but in small amounts!
In healthy individuals, the dietary sodium not more than 2,500 mg a day is still safe. But for people with hypertension, the dietary salt intake should be lower than 1,500 mg a day – recommended in DASH diet (the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)!
The following is the list of some bad foods rich in salt you should restrict in your diet (reference; Canadian Nutrient File 2011).
Grain products and cheese
Rice (especially brown rice), barley, quinoa, oats and wheat are some grains low in sodium. But in many processed foods, they could be high-salt bad boys. And for cheese products, they are usually higher in salt if compared to grain products.
Meat and alternatives
Fresh and unprocessed fish, frozen meat, or poultry contain very little sodium. But in processing, they can contain lots of sodium (see the table)!
Vegetables and fruit
In general, most frozen fruits and vegetables contain very little salt – even some of them are free of salt. But be careful, they may also come with salt in processed foods.
The following are other foods rich in sodium that you may not expect before (according to an outline released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture):
About 2 slices of pork salami /beef can contain 604 mg of sodium.
Not all labeled with veggies are free of sodium, as noted before. About 653 mg of sodium can be found in a cup of vegetable juice cocktail.
About 690 mg of sodium can be found in 1 tbs (tablespoon) of teriyaki sauce.
A cup of cream-style corn (canned) can contain about 730 mg of sodium.
5 ounces of frozen turkey and gravy can have about 787 mg of sodium.
Canned product of chicken noodle soup is yummy in taste. But be careful, it contains about 1,106 mg of sodium.
Other foods rich in salt that may shock you include; a cup of spaghetti sauce (it contains about 1,203 mg of sodium), a cup of seasoned bread crumbs (2,111 mg), and a packet of dehydrated onion soup mix can contain almost 3,132 mg of sodium!
It seems salt found in foods is mostly added in processing (though salt also can be found naturally in certain foods – but only in small amounts).
Foods high in unhealthy fats
According to DASH diet, the recommended total fat intake a day for hypertensive people should be lower than 27 percent of their total calories – and most of their total fat intake should come from healthy fats (unsaturated fats). The intake of saturated fats should be lower than 6 percent of total calories.
Saturated fats and trans-fat foods can increase your LDL, low density lipoprotein – which is commonly considered as ‘bad cholesterol’).
Chronic, uncontrolled high LDL can be a risk factor for hypertension. Overtime, high bad cholesterol deposits in the bloodstream may cause narrowing and hardening arteries such as a condition called atherosclerosis.
Your dietary saturated fats are probably the leading cause of your raised blood cholesterol level. So when it comes to diet for healthy blood pressure and cholesterol, restricting saturated fats is a must!
The major source for saturated fats are animal products such as cheese, lard & cream, tallow ‘beef fat’, poultry ‘especially the skin of poultry’, pork, fatty beef, and butter.
The following is the list of top foods for dietary saturated fats in the American diet (source; 2005–2006 NHANES – the National Cancer Institute) — see on the next page: