Your Diet And High Blood Pressure: Top Foods To Avoid

Hypertension According to research, in 2010, there were more than 20 million cases of hypertension in Nigeria affecting one in three men and one in four women. But the good news is that high blood pressure can be lowered by eating a healthy diet which comes from lean protein, whole grains, low-fat diets and plenty of fruits and vegetables.Regrettably, there are many foods that we love that may not help you if you have high blood pressure. Keep reading to learn about the top foods you should limit or avoid altogether.

Red MeatRed meat is loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat. Eating red meat is associated with high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, which in turn increase the risk of heart and cardiovascular disease. You don't have to eliminatered meat entirely. Instead, you should avoid eating it every day.

Whole Milk Dairy is a great source of calcium, but high fat dairy sources, like whole milk, provide more fat than you need. A one cup serving of whole milk provides 8 grams of fat, 5 of which are saturated. Saturated fats are worse for you than other types and has been linked to heart disease. You may try using 2% milk, or even better - 1% or skim.Donuts  Donuts may be popular, but they sure aren’t very good for your health and body. Just one donut packs in 200 calories with 12 grams of fat. Being fried, it contains lots of saturated and trans fats -- more trans fat than peanut butter, chocolate bars or even chips. For all of these reasons and more, donuts need to be avoided for a healthy heart. 

CoffeeCaffeine-containing beverages such as coffee can cause a significant spike in blood pressure, something that’s bad for your heart and can also cause your libido to disappear. Caffeine may cause the adrenal glands to release excess cortisol and adrenaline —substances that typically cause a further rise in blood pressure. 

Table Salt Too much sodium does direct damage to the heart and arteries and raises blood pressure significantly. Researchers are of the opinion that the evidence that links salt to blood pressure is as strong as that linking cigarette smoking to cancer and heart disease. 

Sugar Foods with extra calories and full of sugar may cause you to gain weight. Obesity is a significant determinant for high blood pressure. The extra weight puts surplus strain on the heart and slows down the blood flow. The Nigerian Heart Foundation therefore recommends that women limit added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons (or 24 grams) per day, and that men keep themselves restricted to 9 teaspoons (or 36 grams) per day. 

Alcohol Everybody loves happy hour, but alcohol consumption actively causes blood pressure to elevate. It also damages the walls of the blood vessels while simultaneously increasing risks of further complications, making it a horrible choice for adults with high blood pressure. 

Bacon Bacon is mostly fat. Three slices have 4.5 grams of fat and about 270 mg of sodium. It is suggested that you opt for lower sodium varieties and try turkey bacon instead of pork. Even with these switches bacon should remain a “special treat”, not an everyday indulgence. 

Fast Food French FriesWhile many fast food chains are now frying their fries in trans fat free oil, not all of them are. Regardless, french fries still provide a large dose of fat and sodium. A medium serving of fries has about 19 grams of fat and 270 mg of sodium. 

Canned Chicken Noodle SoupThe perfect food for those cold rainy days is far from perfect for people with high blood pressure. On average, a cup of canned chicken noodle soup contains as much as 760 mg of sodium. Eat an entire can, which makes about two and a half servings, will have you gulping down 1,800 mg of sodium. Pickles Pickles are low calorie, which is great, but they are loaded with sodium. One medium pickle (about 5 inches long) can have around 570 mg of sodium. That’s over 1/3 of your sodium limit (2300 mg) for the day! 

Dietary Approaches to HypertensionIf diagnosed with prehypertension or hypertension, dietary approaches can go a long way to help you prevent blood pressure spikes and possibly even reduce your blood pressure. Making a few well-informed changes, such as looking for reduced-sodium, no sodium, or trans-fat free options, can help you cut back on the bad foods and find better options.

In addition to monitoring your blood pressure levels, it is important to remember that eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg.