Watching what you eat can help lower blood pressure levels significantly. If you’re suffering from (or have a genetic predisposition to) high blood pressure, you should focus on eliminating food and drinks that play are a role in the development of the condition. The ideal hypertension diet should be low in fat, cholesterol, sodium and empty calories. Some of the major foods and drinks to limit are:
Soft Drinks and Candy
Soft drinks and candy increase your ’empty’ calorie intake, spike blood sugar levels and can contribute to weight gain. Instead of candy bars and energy drinks, consider sweet fresh fruits that are high in vitamins and fibre while satisfying your sweet tooth.
Too much alcohol can cause dehydration and weight gain both of which play a significant role in raising blood pressure. If you are managing the condition, alcohol should be consumed sparingly. The recommended intake is one serving per day for women and two servings for men.
Deli meats and lunch meats used to make sandwiches often contain high levels of sodium. This is because deli meats are preserved with salt to ensure they last longer. High sodium intake has been linked to elevated blood pressure, so try to limit your intake of deli meat.
Frozen pizza is another food to avoid if you have hypertension. The ingredients used to make pizza (cheese, processed meats, and sauce) are high in sodium. Additionally, manufacturers add salt to frozen pizza to preserve its flavour. Pizzas with a thicker crust and more toppings typically have the highest level of Sodium.
Coffee and other beverages high in caffeine can cause a spike in the blood pressure. This is because caffeine can cause the adrenal glands to release excess adrenaline and cortisol which cause a rise in the blood pressure.
Canned soups offer great convenience since they are simple to prepare. However, they are filled with sodium which is not good for blood pressure. Half a cup of canned soup contains roughly 900 milligrams of Sodium. If you have to buy canned soup, consider the reduced sodium options. Making your own soup with a low sodium recipe is always the better choice.
Chicken skin is high in trans fats, saturated fats, and hydrogenated oils. Consuming chicken skin causes a build-up of LDL or bad cholesterol which is a risk factor for hypertension. Red meat, full-fat diary, and butter are also rich in saturated fats and thus should be avoided. LDL is not only bad for your hypertension, but it can also lead to coronary heart disease.
The sauce in some Chinese dishes have dangerously high levels of sodium. A tablespoon of Teriyaki sauce and soy sauce contains about 1,000 mg of salt. This is an equivalent of 2 days worth of the recommended salt intake. If you suffer from hypertension, it’s usually best to limit your intake of certain Chinese meals. As with many take-out foods, you can restrict the sodium if you buy the ingredients and make it yourself from home.
Planning your diet can play a significant role in lowering high blood pressure. If you are diagnosed, make a few changes to your diet to eliminate hypertension triggers. Moreover, a diet rich in Potassium, Magnesium, and fibre can help you lower your blood pressure. Healthy eating can reduce the duration you have to stay on medication. Some people have managed to control their blood pressure without medicine altogether. However, even if a healthy diet is effective in treatment and prevention, you should not go off medication without consulting your doctor.