As well we know, appropriate diet is very crucial when it comes to lowering high blood pressure (hypertension) with lifestyle approaches. While there are plenty choices of healthy foods that can help lower blood pressure (BP), there are also some bad foods you need to restrict and avoid because they can cause bad impact on your BP. What are these foods? The following are some of them!
It’s undeniable that salt or sodium is bad for your BP. The reason is due to sodium can retain fluid /water in the body.
This can cause increased volume of blood through your arteries. And as a result, your systolic blood pressure can increase because there will be more force against your artery walls – either for your diastolic blood pressure.
In addition, systolic pressure is the measurement of force against the artery walls when your heart pumps blood. On the other hand, diastolic pressure is the measurement when your heart at rest or in between beats.
Actually, it is ok to get some sodium from your diet, but make sure you get it not too much.
It may be almost impossible to make your diet 100% of salt. The good news, although too much consumption of sodium can cause hypertension, but however it is also needed by the body in small amounts to help control your blood pressure!
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)!
If you have hypertension, the following are list of 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 some products with them may contain some sodium. And for cheese products, they are usually higher in salt than grain products.
Meat and alternatives
Fresh and unprocessed fish, frozen meat, or poultry only contain very little sodium. But in processing, they can contain lots of sodium.
Below are some meat and alternatives that are rich in sodium.
Vegetables and fruit
In general, most frozen fruits and vegetables contain very little salt – even some of them are free of salt. But there are also some products of them that contain some sodium or even pretty high in sodium.
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!
Most of salt found in foods that you eat are added in processing (though salt also can be found naturally in certain foods – but only in small amounts).
See also some helpful ideas on how to make and cook foods low in salt or even free in salt in this section! Don’t forget to always read the nutrition labels – and compare each other to find one that contains lowest sodium /salt!
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 not higher than 6 percent of total calories.
Saturated fats and trans-fat foods can increase your LDL (it stands for low density lipoprotein – and it is commonly considered as ‘bad cholesterol’).
The chronic condition of having high bad cholesterol can be a risk factor of hypertension. Overtime, high bad cholesterol deposits in the bloodstream can cause narrowing and hardening arteries such as a condition called atherosclerosis.
Foods high in cholesterol also can cause high cholesterol, but saturated fats are more harmful and can cause more impact on the raised LDL level in your bloodstream. This is the major reason for why it’s important to restrict saturated fats – even if you don’t have hypertension.
Unlike sodium, saturated fats can be found naturally in many foods. Typically, the major source of saturated fats is animal products such as dairy and meat products that include; cheese, lard & cream, tallow ‘beef fat’, poultry ‘especially the skin of poultry’, pork, fatty beef, and butter. Many foods rich in saturated fats are also rich in cholesterol.
And for trans-fat foods, they can include fried foods (foods fried with palm oil /coconut oil or those that are deeply fried in partially hydrogenated oil), foods loaded with margarine (margarine contain lots of trans-fat), and some frozen foods such as frozen braded fish sticks, waffles, pot pies, and pizzas.
The following is the list of some foods that have top contribution for source of dietary saturated fats in the American diet (source; 2005–2006 NHANES – the National Cancer Institute):
Full your diet with more healthy unsaturated fats so thus most of your dietary fat doesn’t come from unhealthy fats.
Avocados, fish (like tuna and salmon), and some nuts are great sources of unsaturated fats. These healthy fats are not only helpful to avoid excessive consumption of unhealthy fats, but some are also rich omega-3 fatty acids that can be good for the health of your heart in long term.
Experts have confirmed that too much drinking alcohol can be bad for your heart and cardiovascular system. Even it can be a risk factor of hypertension.
Too much alcohol can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure. Over time, it also can be harmful for your heart.
So if you drink, ensure your do it so moderation (not more than one drink a day for women, and not more than 2 drinks for men – recommended by the American Heart Association)!