Blood pressure is a measure of the force your heart uses to pump blood around your body.
A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHG. Increased blood pressure, which means your top number is over 180 and your bottom number is over 120.
That can increase your risk of all sorts of problems like heart problems, kidney disease, vision problems and sexual dysfunction. Nearly half of all Americans (47% or 116 million) have it. Almost 1 in 5 people take medication for it.
Below is a list of foods and beverages to avoid if you have high blood pressure, along with a list of foods that help you lower and maintain your blood pressure at a healthy level.
HERE’S THE AVOID LIST
Salty snacks like pretzels and chips
Over-the-counter Decongestants (they narrow blood vessels and can increase blood pressure)
Tacos & Burritos
Red Meat (including pork, lamb, beef, veal, venison, goat)
Full Fat Dairy
Canned Soups (check labels for sodium)
Plant based meat alternatives
GOOD FOR BLOOD PRESSURE
ALSO GOOD FOR BLOOD PRESSURE
Again, do not consume more than 1 teaspoon of salt daily. Beware of hidden salt in foods or beverages.
Reduce your stress with meditation or other relaxing breathing techniques, stretch daily, try yoga, listen to soothing music
Sleep on your left side. Get at least 9 hours of sleep each night.
Drink lots of water.
Exercise reduces blood pressure 5-7 mm Hg
If obese, every 2.2 pounds lost lowers your blood pressure around 1mm Hg per 1 Kilogram
Look for salt-free or very low sodium on labels
If you do buy canned beans or vegetables rinse them completely under running water first
If you take blood pressure medication
Be sure to review what you eat and drink daily as well as how much you move. If you need more good for you foods or meal suggestions, check out the DASH diet link below, specifically tailored to lower blood pressure.
If you need added help with changing your behavior around food, Noom is a digital platform that can match you with a trained coach. It was developed using evidence-based approaches and scientifically-proven principles, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you build sustainable habits that last. They help with stress, anxiety, hypertension and diabetes.
Taking blood pressure medication without making lifestyle changes will only increase your risk of additional problems.
Be sure to make the lifestyle changes first, and ask a loved one to help keep you accountable. Having one day a week as your cheat day –say if you love pizza or bacon –will help as most people, even athletes, subscribe to allowing themselves a day to indulge.
It’s only when indulging becomes a daily habit that your body will give you a Warning Light to make a change.
Most items on the Avoid list are highly addictive, which is why people have a hard time stopping, but it’s so worth it. You will feel better, have more energy and avoid longterm risks associated with high blood pressure.
It generally takes one month to notice the difference. If your doctor told you that you have high blood pressure, schedule a followup appointment in one month to track your progress.
Even though medication can lower it within a few days, it may not be the best long-term treatment due to side effects.
Always check with your physician before stopping any blood pressure medication, even if there’s been a recall.