This article will briefly discuss those common foods and drinks which must be avoided to maintain a normal blood pressure. The list is far from exhaustive but will hopefully be helpful.
Blood pressure in a very simple term refers to the pressure/force with which blood flows in the blood vessels. It is a vital part of how the heart circulates blood. A person’s blood pressure naturally goes up and down all the time, adjusting to their heart’s needs depending on the activities they are performing. However, high blood pressure (also Hypertension) is blood pressure that is persistently higher than normal. A blood pressure reading under 120/80 mm Hg and up to 139/89 mm Hg are in the normal to high normal range.
Now that it is fairly clear what high blood pressure entails, it is equally important to know what behaviors predispose a person to this dangerous situation and what healthy behaviors a person can follow to manage and/or steer clear of the monster. Exercise, healthy feeding habits, and medication are going to be defined here as positive behaviors. A sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diets, and a general careless attitude towards health on the other hand constitute negative behaviors.
1. Table Salt
Salt is essential in meals but poses a big concern for any individual with high blood pressure (and even heart disease) and so too much of it must be avoided with all consciousness. It may sound easy but actually avoiding salt is harder than it sounds.
The CDC has found that on average, Americans eat more than 3,400 mg of salt every day, which is above the maximum recommendation of 2,300 mg. The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that for people with hypertension, reducing salt intake to 1,500 mg a day (less than half a teaspoon) can help lower systolic blood pressure by almost 5 mm Hg.
2. Salty Snacks
There are other sources of salt apart from the normal table salt including snack foods like chips, popcorn, pretzels, snack mixes, and crackers which are high in sodium. Even packaged foods such as chips or crackers labeled “reduced sodium” aren’t necessarily low in sodium. It simply means that they contain at least 25% less sodium than the original variety. It is advisable to go for “low sodium” snacks that offer 140 mg of sodium or less per serving if they cannot be totally avoided.
3. Yeast Bread
The American Heart Association (AHA) confirms that Yeast bread (including rolls, bagels, flour tortillas, and wraps) rank first as the food item that contributes the most sodium to American diets. Yeast bread must thus be avoided when shopping while safer alternatives such as loaves with 5% daily value (DV) or less for sodium. Note that a daily value of 20% or more is high.
Pizza can be a poor choice for people with high blood pressure. Pizzas usually contain a lot of salt, as manufacturers look to maintain the flavor in them once they have been cooked.
One serving of a frozen meat-and-cheese pizza can contain up to 700 mg of sodium, sometimes even more. The sodium level in pizzas increases with an increase in the thickness of the crust and the toppings. This makes it dangerous for people with high blood pressure and should be avoided.
Chicken ranks eight on the CDC’s list of 10 top sources of sodium. That tells you much of what you need to know about it. Chicken, even before you put anything on it, is often injected with saltwater solutions during processing, making it a hidden source of sodium. One 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast can contain anywhere from 40 mg to 330 mg of sodium. It appears that less chicken may mean lower blood pressure.
6. Packaged foods
Packaged foods contain a high level of saturated fat and trans fat. People with high blood pressure must reduce their saturated fat intake and stay away from trans fat. Packaged and prepared foods usually contain high amounts of sugar and low-fibre carbohydrates, and are the biggest contributors of trans fat.
Low-density lipoproteins (bad) cholesterol are increased when too many saturated and trans fat are consumed. High Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) levels may make your high blood pressure worse and could lead to the development of coronary heart disease, eventually.
Caffeine-containing beverages such as a coffee can cause a significant spike in blood pressure which endangers the heart greatly while also reducing libido. Caffeine may cause the adrenal cortex to release excess cortisol while also making the adrenal medulla to release adrenaline and noradrenaline to keep the individual active. What we must now know is that these hormones typically constrict blood vessels and so cause a rise in blood pressure. One can see how this is deleterious for an individual who already suffers hypertension.
There are already so many instructions about sugar intake. Aside the fact that excessive sugar leads to an increase in weight gain and obesity, it is also directly linked to high blood pressure. Sugar and sweetened drinks have led to an increase in obesity in people of all ages, and obesity usually comes with high blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends that men should restrict themselves to 9 teaspoons (150 calories per day), or 36 grams, of sugar per day, while women limit their added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons (100 calories per day), or 24 grams, per day.
9. Soft Drinks
Soft drinks supply nothing more than sugar and calories. One can (or 12 fluid ounces) of soda generally contains more than 9 teaspoons of sugar or 39 total grams – that is the entire daily recommended amount for men and two-thirds for women. Soft drinks must be avoided like a plague.
Small amounts of alcohol may work in your favor to lower your blood pressure while excessive intake up to 13 beverages a week can substantially increase the risk of high blood pressure. Your risk of getting cancer may also increase if you drink too much.
Having more than three drinks in one sitting can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure. Repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term blood pressure problems. Additionally, alcohol, which is full of calories, can lead to weight gain which is yet another risk factor for high blood pressure.
Eating with high blood pressure is about eating smart and making healthy decisions for one’s body. This cannot be seen as depriving oneself of good things. So, take on some smart eating strategies that can help prevent persistent elevation of blood pressure above normal and even possibly reduce the blood pressure. Reduced-sodium to no-sodium foods, trans-fat-free foods options, less sugar, and less alcohol intake can greatly assist you.
10 Foods and Drinks to Avoid If You Have Hypertension: Having read 10 Foods and Drinks to Avoid If You Have Hypertension, do not hesitate to contribute to the list. This is because the 10 Foods and Drinks to Avoid If You Have Hypertension listed in the article is far from exhaustive.