What To Avoid To Lower Your Blood Pressure
Salt or sodium chloride has been used to preserve foods and as a flavour enhancer for centuries.
High salt intakes are associated with higher blood pressure.
Adults need between 1.2 to 2.4g of salt each day , which is equivalent to 460 to 920mg of sodium.
But in Australia seven out of ten men and three in ten women eat way more than that and much more than the upper recommended limit of 5.9 grams of salt or 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
Further reading:How much salt is it OK to eat?
If you add salt to food yourself this pushes your sodium intake even higher.
A review of studies involving 3,230 people showed that reducing salt intakes by 4.4 grams a day could reduce systolic blood pressure by about 4.2 mmHg and diastolic by 2.1 mmHg.
In those who had high blood pressure there were even bigger reductions of 5.4 mmHg and 2.8 mmHg .
Avoid foods high in sodium. Dont add salt and try to choose lower-salt versions of processed foods.
Consuming one or more alcoholic drink a day is associated with systolic blood pressure that is about 2.7 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure 1.4 mmHg higher than non-drinkers.
Interestingly, when you first drink an alcoholic beverage, blood pressure goes down, only to rise later.
A rise in blood pressure after drinking alcohol is more likely to happen when youre awake, rather during sleep.
Sweet And Savory Cinnamon May Help Cholesterol Levels
Run to your pantry, grab your jar of this sweet spice, and start sprinkling studies have shown that it may be a food to lower blood pressure. Theres also some possibility that cinnamon might help with cholesterol levels, too, Dean says. There are many great ways to use cinnamon that dont involve desserts. You can sprinkle it on;oatmeal, stir it into stews and chili, and in stick form, use it to flavor coffee and hot cocoa.
Consider Cutting Back On Caffeine
Caffeine raises your blood pressure, but the effect is temporary. It lasts 45 to 60 minutes and the reaction varies from individual to individual .
Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. If youre caffeine-sensitive, you may want to cut back on your coffee consumption, or try .
Research on caffeine, including its health benefits, is in the news a lot. The choice of whether to cut back depends on many individual factors.
One older study indicated that caffeines effect on raising blood pressure is greater if your blood pressure is already high. This same study, however, called for more research on the subject .
Also Check: Can Anemia Cause High Blood Pressure
Other Fruits And Vegetables
Adding more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables of all kinds to your diet can help lower your blood pressure, Patton says. And, research shows it could help you avoid developing hypertension. In fact, the DASH diet, an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, suggests eating four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables every day.;
Every Kitchen Cupboard Needs:
Wholegrain varieties of;pasta, breakfast cereals and rice.;Eating more wholegrains will help to lower your risk of heart disease, and they contain fibre which keeps you feeling full and aids digestion. Brown rice, wholewheat pasta and wholegrain cereals are good choices.
Nuts and seeds.;These are a great source of minerals, nutrients and fibre. As they can also be high in fat, a good rule of thumb is to eat no more than handful a day. Avoid the roasted and salted types, the added salt will raise your blood pressure.
Canned fish, fruit, vegetables and beans.;Canned products can be just as good as fresh or frozen. Choose options in water or their own juice and avoid;foods tinned in oil, brine or syrup, or with added salt or sugar.
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Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time.
Staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure:
- men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week
The Dash Diet Can Lower Blood Pressure
The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a healthy eating plan intended to help lower blood pressure without medication.
While you can eat foods from all food groups, you are encouraged to reduce sodium and focus on foods high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Guidelines include:
- Limit sodium in your diet to 2,300 milligrams per day
- Enjoy plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit
- Eat beans, seeds, nuts, and whole-grains
- Include fat-free and low-fat dairy;
- Eat fish, poultry, and lean meats
- Reduce intake of salt, sugar, red meat, processed foods, saturated fat, trans fat, and alcoholic beverages;
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What Is High Blood Pressure And What Are The Risk Factors
High blood pressure occurs when the force of the blood moving to and from your heart pushes too hard on your arteries, according to the American Heart Association. According to the CDC, a whopping 75 million Americansthat’s nearly a third of the adult populationstruggle with high blood pressure.
Hypertension increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other life-altering health consequences along the way.
There are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure, including stress, smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol, age, genetics, and diet.
High Blood Pressure Diet
Healthy food is like medication for high blood pressure. Except you dont need a prescription, and you wont have to worry about side effects. Just choose wisely, eat, and repeat.
Whether you follow DASH or chart your own course, try to focus on what you can eat instead of what you cant. Like any other healthy diet, a diet to lower blood pressure will emphasize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding fats, fried foods, and salty snacks.
Read Also: Is Salt Bad For High Blood Pressure
When To See A Doctor
Have your blood pressure checked as part of your regular doctors visits. The Mayo Clinic suggests that when youre 18, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every 2 years at a minimum.
If you have a high risk for high blood pressure or youre older than 40, ask for a reading every year.
- have a high blood pressure reading and you havent received a diagnosis of hypertension
- have well-managed blood pressure, but it measures above normal range more than once
- are concerned that your blood pressure medication is causing side effects
Fruits For High Blood Pressure
Fruit is full of nutrients that can bring down your blood pressure. The key nutrients are potassium, magnesium, and fiber. The potassium in bananas, for example, lowers tension in the walls of your blood vessels. It also helps get rid of sodium — which raises blood pressure — through your urine.
Since fruit is sweet, it makes a good substitute for less healthy desserts. Look for fresh, frozen, or canned versions of these fruits that pack a lot of potassium, magnesium, and fiber:
If you buy canned fruit, make sure its packed in water or natural juices, not syrup. And also check to see that theres no added sugar or salt.
Read Also: What To Do If Blood Pressure Is Too Low
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Autumn is one of the busiest seasons for many of us. Your schedule is busy, kids need to be urged to practice, and you simply dont have time to prepare the healthy, home-cooked meals that you would like to have. When life gets busy, its time to grab your slow cooker and save a lot of time!
More Diet Tips For Lowering Blood Pressure
1. Lower Your Salt Intake
When it comes to eating to lower blood pressure, it’s best to limit the sodium in your daily diet to less than 2,300 milligrams if you don’t already have high blood pressure, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
However, if you already have high blood pressure, the AHA recommends reducing your salt intake even further, to around 1,500 milligrams per day .
2. Try a Heart-Friendly Diet
The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is specifically tailored to help you take your blood pressure down. The diet is high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, but low in sodium.
Alternatively, Dr. Mandal highly suggests eating a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
3. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Dr. Mandal recommends no more than one to two cups of coffee per day. She also suggests those with high blood pressure especially limit their alcohol intake. The AHA recommends no more than two drinks per day for men and one per day for women.
“I also recommend regular exercise and managing stress,” Dr. Mandal adds.
Plus, make sure to schedule regular checkups with your primary care physician, who can monitor your blood pressure and help you devise the best treatment plan based on your family history and individual health needs.
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May Promote Weight Loss
Following a healthy diet that includes nutrient-dense foods like Swiss chard may help you lose weight and keep it off for good.
Filling up on high-fiber vegetables like Swiss chard can increase fullness after meals, reducing your risk of snacking and overeating.
In a study in 120 overweight adults, those who received twice the amount of vegetables than the control group experienced greater weight loss and hunger satisfaction .
People who eat more vegetables tend to weigh less than those who dont.
A review of 17 studies in over 560,000 participants noted that those with the highest intake of vegetables were 17% less likely to be overweight or obese .
Alongside its fiber content, Swiss chard has only 35 calories per cooked cup .
Adding this low-calorie, nutrient-dense green to your diet can help you stay on track when trying to lose weight and get healthy.
Swiss chard is a nutritional powerhouse that you can eat in many ways. Its mild taste makes it a perfect ingredient for countless recipes.
Here are some excellent ways to add Swiss chard to your diet:
Swiss chard is a mild green that can be used in a number of dishes, including salads, pastas and sides.
Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that is packed with nutrients.
It contains an impressive amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs.
Whats more, you can sauté it alone or add it to stews, salads, stir-fries, frittatas, pastas and more.
Boost Your B12 Intake
Vitamin B12 performs a critical role in helping the body produce healthy red blood cells. Lack of this important vitamin can result in anemia, which lowers blood pressure and can result in excessive bleeding as well as organ and nerve damage. Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 include eggs, chicken, fish like salmon and tuna, and low-fat dairy products.
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Comparison Of Sodium In Foods
Meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish
Food: Milligrams sodium
Fresh meat, 3 oz. cooked: Less than 90 mg
Shellfish, 3 oz: 100 to 325 mg
Tuna, canned, 3 oz: 300 mg
Lean ham, 3 oz.: 1,025 mg
*Whole milk, 1 cup: 120 mg
Skim or 1% milk, 1 cup: 125 mg
*Buttermilk , 1 cup: 260 mg
*Swiss cheese, 1 oz: 75 mg
*Cheddar cheese, 1 oz : 175 mg
Low-fat cheese, 1 oz.: 150 mg
*Cottage cheese , 1/2 cup: 455 mg
Food: Milligrams sodium
Fresh or frozen vegetables, and no-salt-added canned , 1/2 cup: Less than 70 mg
Vegetables canned or frozen , 1/2 cup: 55-470 mg
Tomato juice, canned, 3/4 cup: 660 mg
Breads, cereals, rice and pasta
Food: Milligrams sodium
Bread, 1 slice: 110-175 mg
English muffin : 130 mg
Ready-to-eat, shredded wheat, 3/4 cup: Less than 5 mg
Cooked cereal , 1/2 cup: Less than 5 mg
Instant cooked cereal, 1 packet: 180 mg
Canned soups, 1 cup: 600-1,300 mg
Food: Milligrams sodium
Canned and frozen main dishes, 8 oz: 500-1,570 mg
*These can also be high in saturated fat, unless low-fat or reduced fat options are purchased.
*High in saturated fat.
The One Breakfast Food To Eat To Lower Your Blood Pressure Says Dietitian
You can make the so-called “most important meal of the day” really count for something if you get in the habit of eating certain foods for breakfast. And we’re not just talking about healthy foods that nourish and energize your body so you can tackle the day at your best. Depending on what foods you decide you put on your plate, you can manage important aspects of your health, from your heart to your brain.
Specifically, if you’re interested in managing your blood pressure, one way you can do that beyond eating a healthy diet, exercising, and keeping stress levels low is by eating one blood pressure-managing food at breakfast: amaranth. This ancient grain is rich in fiber and magnesium: two nutrients that have been linked to low blood pressure.
Before we get into how your diet can influence blood pressure, let’s start with what blood pressure really is and how it’s linked to your overall health:
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Watermelon Contains Lycopene A Blood
Pictured recipe: Watermelon Mint Mocktail
Enjoying foods that are naturally red or pink in colorthink tomatoes, guava and, of course, watermelonwill give your body a boost of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to favorable effects on high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disorders. In fact, higher blood lycopene levels have been associated with lower levels of hypertension in people who are overweight and obese.
What Can I Eat To Lower My Blood Pressure
- Too much salt in your diet makes your body hold on to more water, which raises your blood pressure and puts strain on your heart and kidneys.
- A diet high in harmful fats can play a role in developing heart disease or raising blood pressure.
- Sure, it matters what you eat — but too much food of any kind can cause you to gain weight, which can also lead to higher blood pressure.
- Do: Potassium. In your body, too much sodium raises your blood pressure, but potassium balances out the extra salt. Where can you get; potassium? Plain baked potatoes, for starters. Also try bananas, avocados, dried apricots, plain yogurt, raw spinach and cooked white beans.
- Don’t: Sodium. Salt shows up where you don’t expect it. Nearly half of the sodium we consume comes from 10 food categories: bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta mixed dishes, meat mixed dishes and savory snacks.
- Don’t: Harmful fats. Full flavor without all the fat is possible. Saturated and trans fats are two types of dangerous fats found in many commercial baked goods and animal products .
- Sodium: 1,500 milligrams daily for those with high blood pressure
- Potassium: 4,700 mg a day of potassium
- Saturated fats: less than 10% of your daily calories
- Trans fats: as low as possible
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Exercise Your Way To Lower Numbers
Diet isnt the only nondrug strategy for lowering your numbers. A 2017 review of 53 studies involving older adults, in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, found that both aerobic exercise and strength training lowered blood pressure by 5 systolic and 3 diastolic points. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on most days and targeting your entire body with weights at least twice a week.
A type of training called isometrics has shown potential for reducing blood pressure. Traditional strength training involves lifting and lowering weights or otherwise moving your joints during a routine. With isometrics, you maintain one position with the muscles contractedthink planks, wall sits, and holding weights in each hand out to your sides.
If you have hypertension, ask your doctor for a referral to an exercise program thats designed to improve heart health. Hospitals, community centers, and YMCAs may have programs.
Below you’ll find the top home blood pressure arm and wrist monitors from Consumer Reports’ tests.
Editors Note: This article also appeared in the November 2019 issue of Consumer Reports On Health.