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High Blood Pressure

This section focuses on the subject of high blood pressure.

10 Foods to Avoid with High Blood Pressure

Approximately half of the individuals living with high blood pressure do not have the condition under control despite modifiable diet and lifestyle changes. Break the statistics and limit these foods that raise blood pressure!

10 Foods to Avoid with High Blood Pressure


Hypertension increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, both leading causes of death in the United States and costing the nation close to $50 billion each year! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75 million American adults are diagnosed with hypertension - that translates to 32 percent or 1 in 3 adults! Additionally, 1 in 3 adults have prehypertension, a condition in which blood pressure numbers are higher than normal but not high enough to receive a hypertension diagnosis. Approximately half of the individuals living with high blood pressure do not have the condition under control despite modifiable diet and lifestyle changes. Break the statistics and limit these foods that raises blood pressure!

10 Foods to Avoid with High Blood Pressure

Sodium and Salt

As a general rule, sodium intake is recommended to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. On the Nutrition Facts label, look at the Percent Daily Value (%DV) - 5% DV or less of sodium per serving is low while 20% DV is considered high. Limit the salt shaker and these high sodium foods that increase blood pressure:

1. Canned Beans
Canned beans can be loaded with sodium for preservation purposes. If purchasing canned beans, rinsing the beans with a colander and water can help wash away most of the salt.

2. Premade Soups
Despite the promotion of nutritious veggies, soups can be loaded with salt and sodium. And unlike canned beans, soups cannot be rinsed to reduce salt content. When choosing soups, try to find "low in sodium" or "reduced salt" products or take advantage of the nutrition facts label.

3. Canned or Bottled Tomato Products
Tomato sauces, pastes and ketchups are often loaded with salt. Create your own products with fresh or rinsed, canned tomatoes for ingredient and salt control.

4. Packaged and Processed Meats
Prepackaged meats, including breakfast sausages and hot dogs, tend to be loaded with sodium. Despite the misbelief that deli meats, such as turkey, may be a lean protein source, added salt is common. Avoid the hidden sodium by purchasing directly from the butcher rather than in the grocer refrigerated section.

5. Frozen Meals
Meals found in the freezer section - pizzas, chicken strips and individual frozen entrees - are not only loaded with unwanted ingredients, but filled with sodium. Even the advertised "healthy" meals tend to contain high amounts of sodium.

Sugar

Sugar is found in a wide-variety of foods, either naturally or artificially added. It is imperative to reduce products loaded with added sugars, as they essentially offer nothing more than calories and contribute to weight gain - overweight and obese individuals have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a maximum added sugar intake of 37.5 grams (or 9 teaspoons) for men and 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day. Added sugars are commonly found in:

6. Candy
Candy essentially offers nothing more than calories and sugar while spiking sugar levels. Skip out on sugary suckers and candy bars and opt for naturally-sweetened fruits rich in fiber and potassium, an essential nutrient that has shown a preventative role in high blood pressure.

7. Soft Drinks
Soft drinks supply nothing more than sugar and calories the way candy does. 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!

8. Pastries
Doughnuts, cakes and cookies are loaded with sugar along with fat. The combination may contribute to weight gain in excessive amounts. Reduce the consumption of these products and keep portion and serving sizes in check.

9. Sauces
Sauces and condiments can be a double whammy when it comes to its composition of both salt and sugar - ketchup is a notorious condiment for supplying high amounts of both. Season products with fresh herbs or be sure to keep amounts in small portions if choosing to use dips or sauces.

10. Alcohol
Surprisingly, the consumption of alcohol has actually shown to reduce heart disease risk. The catch? Consuming alcohol in moderation and in recommended amounts - limited to two servings per day for men and one serving for women. Too much alcohol can result to initial dehydration and long-term weight gain, both consequently increasing blood pressure.

Reference:
High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_bloodpressure.htm.

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