High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) occurs when the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is too strong. In order to help prevent high blood pressure, you should have your blood pressure checked regularly and avoid making these common mistakes that can contribute to high blood pressure. In addition, incorporate these 10 best and worst foods for high blood pressure into your daily diet, and you may be able to control your HBP without medication or other treatments.
The #1 Worst Food for High Blood Pressure
Saturated Fat Saturated fat is high in calories, which makes it easy to overeat without realizing it. If you’re trying to manage your blood pressure, saturated fat is something you should eliminate from your diet—even healthy fats like fish or olive oil are high in saturated fat. And just as a reminder: Unsaturated fats (like those found in nuts, seeds, olives, and avocado) can actually lower your blood pressure. So swap out that plate of meatloaf with mashed potatoes for a serving of black beans instead!
2 (Tie) The Second Worst Food For High BP
Margarine/Spread: Trans fats, also called partially hydrogenated oils, are a class of unsaturated fatty acids. Their use is strictly regulated by FDA standards because they are associated with a risk of heart disease. There’s plenty of trans fat in margarine—especially spreads which often contain more than twice as much trans fat as regular margarine. If you have high blood pressure or simply want to avoid heart disease, keep that tub of spread off your table! (See here for top 10 list.) The best natural alternatives to spreadable fats are real butter, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. (See below for our overall #1 choice).
3 Worst Food For Hypertension
Salt. In excess, sodium in foods can raise blood pressure. Most Americans get far more than they need (4,500 mg a day). When used in cooking or at the table, salt is not only bad for hypertension; it also makes food taste better, which encourages overeating. Salt should be limited to no more than 1 tsp a day (2,300 mg) — that’s about one-half of a level teaspoon. Less is even better: Aim for less than 1/4 tsp a day (1,500 mg), but do so gradually over several weeks because salt substitutes like potassium chloride can sometimes cause stomach irritation.
4 The Fourth Worst Food For Hypertension
Popcorn Popcorn is one of those foods that everyone loves. Who doesn’t like snacking on a bag of popcorn while watching their favorite movie? But if you suffer from high blood pressure, you should avoid consuming any type of popcorn. The majority of people are unaware that processed popcorn actually contains a significant amount of salt – as much as half a teaspoon per cup! This can cause your blood pressure to rise quickly because sodium raises your blood pressure. If you want to continue enjoying your favorite snack food, air popped or no salt varieties are recommended.
5 The Fifth Worst Food For Hypertension
Sodium Nitrite. Sodium nitrite is an additive used to preserve and flavor cured meats. Studies show that sodium nitrite increases blood pressure in some people with hypertension, especially when consumed in large quantities ( 2 ). Surprisingly, sodium nitrite is also a common ingredient in many processed foods . Besides cured meats, you can find it in bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage, corned beef, ham and some smoked fish ( 3 ). This chemical reacts with proteins found naturally in our body to form dangerous compounds called N-nitroso compounds ( 4 , 5 ). Reducing your intake of these processed foods could be one of the easiest ways to reduce blood pressure without resorting to medication. #4 The Fourth Worst Food For Hypertension: Alcohol.
6 The Sixth Worst Food For Hypertension
White Rice (206 mg) is a refined carbohydrate, which means it has been stripped of most of its nutrients. Refined carbohydrates are quickly broken down into glucose, which can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels. And as we know, high blood pressure is often caused by chronically elevated blood sugar levels. So if you’re looking to prevent or treat hypertension, make sure you avoid foods like white rice that cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. Instead, choose whole grains like brown rice and quinoa that are more slowly digested and provide sustained energy over time. They’re also rich in fiber, which helps keep your digestion regular—which can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure in the first place!
8 The Eighth & Final Worst Dietary Item
Alcohol. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol can cause blood pressure to rise over time, especially among heavy drinkers. Overconsumption of alcohol is linked to an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. If you’re trying to lower your blood pressure, it’s best to avoid excessive drinking or try limiting yourself to one drink per day. Bottom Line: Heavy alcohol consumption has been shown to significantly increase your risk of high blood pressure and other related health problems. ##9 The Ninth & Final Best Dietary Item: Broccoli & Cruciferous Vegetables in General.
The #9 Best Diet Change to Lower Your BP
Eating less sodium (salt) helps lower your blood pressure. There’s no getting around it—in an ideal world, we’d all eat mostly natural foods, nothing processed or packaged, cook everything from scratch, and stay away from fast food. Unfortunately, that’s not realistic for most of us, which is why trying to curb your salt intake as much as possible is so important. Start by reading nutrition labels at home and when you eat out; it’s recommended that adults limit themselves to 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. Aim to keep it under 1,500 mg if you have high blood pressure or other risk factors for heart disease.
10 Another Important Hypertension Diet Tip
Consume foods that are high in potassium as well. Potassium is another mineral which plays a key role in blood pressure.(Source) The website also recommends minimizing sodium intake and increasing your consumption of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. If you eat these healthy foods on a regular basis there is no reason why you should not be able to prevent yourself from developing high blood pressure. You will be surprised by how much better you feel once you put these tips into practice. Your energy levels will improve dramatically because your cells will be able to get enough oxygen with minimal effort. And if you have to take medication (in addition to eating healthier) do not worry – it will reduce your hypertension significantly!