Blood pressure is the force of blood that pushes against the walls of your arteries. When this pressure is too high, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body, causing a number of related health problems. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is unfortunately very common. In fact, 1 in 2 adults in the United States has it.
Having high blood pressure increases the risk of serious conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke, so it’s definitely in your best interest to avoid it. An unhealthy diet is one of the key causes of high blood pressure. In this article, we will discuss the DASH diet and which foods to avoid with high blood pressure.
What is the DASH diet?
The DASH diet is a healthy diet that is meant to prevent or treat high blood pressure. In fact, the acronym DASH actually stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” Foods recommended as part of a DASH diet plan are high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are all nutrients that help control blood pressure. The DASH diet also discourages consuming foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Studies have shown that this diet can lower blood pressure, often in as little as 2 weeks.
Which types of foods to avoid with high blood pressure
Watching what you eat is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure. If you want to prevent or treat hypertension, read on for which types of foods to avoid with high blood pressure.
SodiumA certain amount of salt is needed for human health, but foods that are very high in sodium can cause high blood pressure. High levels of sodium will cause the body to retain water, leading to extra water in the blood and thus extra pressure on the artery walls. People who are trying to prevent or treat hypertension should avoid high-sodium foods like cold cuts, canned soups, pizza, and chips.
SugarNitric oxide in the body helps expand your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. If you eat too much sugar, it can cause an insulin spike in your body, which inhibits the production of nitric oxide. This can lead to high blood pressure. If you are looking to prevent or treat high blood pressure, stay away from sugary foods like processed desserts, sodas, and fruit juices.
CaffeineConsuming caffeine causes arteries to narrow, thus increasing your blood pressure. To avoid or treat high blood pressure, eliminate caffeinated beverages such as coffee and energy drinks from your diet.
Best foods for high blood pressure
While certain foods contribute to high blood pressure, other foods can help treat or prevent it. Some great foods for managing high blood pressure include:
- Salmon and tuna
- Beans and lentils
- Low-fat dairy
- Whole grains
Lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure
Diet is not the only thing that affects your blood pressure levels. If you have high blood pressure, there are many lifestyle changes you can make that will help, including:
- Losing weight
- Exercising daily
- Quitting smoking
- Sleeping regularly
- Reducing stress
- Avoiding drinking
READ MORE: Four Heart Health Tips
We’re here for all cardiac emergencies
If you experience a cardiac emergency like chest pains, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, congestive heart failure, or high blood pressure complications, go to your nearest Neighbors Emergency Center right away. All of our locations provide the highest-quality emergency care and are able to see any patients experiencing a cardiac emergency. Whether you require an EKG, cardiac monitoring, or advanced cardiac life support, we are prepared for any and all cardiac emergencies. Our board-certified physicians are available 24/7 with no wait and no long drive to the medical center.