What are five foods that cause high blood pressure? If you are seeking to answer this question, your doctor has likely requested that you make some changes to your diet. High blood pressure is a common ailment affecting millions. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to life threatening heart conditions, heart attacks, or strokes. While medications are common treatment, dietary management is also necessary to battle high blood pressure. Understanding which foods to avoid is a key strategy to managing your high blood pressure and preventing devastating heart conditions.
- Mind the alcohol consumption. Many experts approve an occasional drink; however, excessive drinking often leads to weight gain as the drinker packs in hundreds of empty calories. Carrying excess weight is certainly a risk factor for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. Drinking in moderation avoids those empty calories and unnecessary weight gain.
- Convenient frozen and boxed dinner helpers should be avoided. Falling into a frozen dinner trap is an easy one for busy families, empty nesters, or for those living alone. Cooking homemade meals nightly may seem unnecessary—especially in small quantities—and many people find the convenience of frozen dinners or boxed helpers too tempting to pass up! A glance at the labels tells the true price paid for such convenience in the alarmingly high sodium and fat contents! Those with hypertension—or even those struggling with weight loss or obesity-need to understand the nutritional values of such meals. Many times a single serving of a highly processed frozen dinner, even the “healthy” options, are nearly a day’s allotment of fat and sodium. Instead of tossing a frozen lunch in your bag, plan ahead with healthier dinner leftovers and you may be able to rationalize the home cooked meal—even if you are a bachelor!
- Fast food and bagged, salty snacks are often convenient and inexpensive but costly to a healthy diet. Many claim that unhealthy foods are targeted toward the poor and the stressed out members of our society. Whether you are a college student, a struggling professional, or a busy parent, the lure of a quick fast food dinner can become commonplace if you let it. Fast foods and salty snacks are packed with salt, fat, and preservatives—three things that a high blood pressure sufferer should avoid at all costs. Fast food and junk food are often two cheap, convenient options—but, planning ahead, cooking in larger quantities and freezing or storing leftovers, and stocking up on nutritious snacks for those times on the go offer up the better health options.
- Skip fried foods. Southern fried chicken, batter dipped fish, French fries, onion rings—you get the idea. Many times these items are fried in heart-stopping oils and greases from the times of your grandmother! Grandma led a more active lifestyle than many do today—her heart could stand a little “bad” fat. Instead of the deep fried chicken breast, choosing a grilled or oven fried option cuts out much of the unhealthy fats. Processed foods or restaurant meals may still harbor high sodium risks—so again, spending a little time and preparing some homemade dinners and planned lunch leftovers may be best for your waistline and your heart!
- Red meats, cheeses, and whole milk are loaded with unhealthy fats. High fat content is present in hamburger, steak, creamy cheeses and certainly whole milks and full-fat dairy products. Luckily, alternatives exist for carnivores that cannot bear to exist without the occasional thick, juicy burger! Simply choosing leaner red meats and low fat dairy products will cut a large quantity of fat from your diet. Watch those fat-free cheeses, though, as many brands substitute unhealthy fat for unhealthy sodium content instead!
Maintaining a heart healthy diet does not require an “all or nothing approach”. Partaking of favorite foods in moderation, and learning how to substitute healthier, tasty alternatives will actually help ensure that you are able to stick to a healthier diet for the long haul—making a lifestyle change that will work for you.