Foods to avoid with high blood pressure

by Ahsan Sohail
Foods to avoid with high blood pressure

What foods to avoid with high blood pressure? High blood pressure is a very communal condition that predisposes to a greater risk of cardiovascular problems. Changes in your habits and lifestyle can help control or prevent this condition, starting with avoiding some foods.

High blood pressure is a condition to keep under careful observation, as it can cause several serious cardiovascular diseases or even kidney failure. The risks of hypertension are to be sought, first of all, by the damage it can cause at the level of the heart and blood vessels and many other organs, for example, the kidneys and the brain.

When we talk about blood pressure, we refer to the pressure that the blood exerts on the walls of the arteries of the circulatory system, which varies according to the amount of blood the heart pumps but also based on the resistance that opposes the blood flow.

It is evaluated in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). It is hypertension (high blood pressure) when the pressure values ​​are equal to or exceed 90 mmHg minimum and 140 mmHg maximum.

According to World Health Organization, a systolic (or maximum) pressure of less than 130 mm Hg and a diastolic (or minimum) pressure of less than 85 mm Hg are normal, and hypertension begins when the maximum pressure reaches and exceeds 140 mm Hg and the minimum pressure 90 mm Hg.

Causes of hypertension.

The causes of hypertension can be many: hypertension is a consequence of kidney disease in many cases. In other cases, it associates with narrowing the arteries and predisposing genetic factors. However, only a small percentage of patients with hypertension know the cause.

This condition, therefore, appears to be very widespread, and precisely for this reason, the bodies in charge have for some time created information campaigns aimed at raising awareness on lifestyle and nutrition to prevent as much as possible the onset of a condition of arterial hypertension.

In particular, some risk factors are:

  • Obesity
  • Low physical activity
  • Stress
  • Salt abuse
  • Smoking

Also, some foods can contribute to the onset of this condition. In this article, we’ll see together which foods to avoid in case of hypertension and what to limit in all cases where there are multiple risk factors.

How to diagnose hypertension?

To diagnose hypertension, pay attention to the results of blood pressure measurements. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80. The first measurement result is the systolic pressure, and then the next number is the diastolic pressure.

When the blood pressure measurement results exceed the normal range, we can divide it into the following categories:

  • Blood pressure ranges from 120 to 139 for systolic pressure and 80 to 89 for diastolic pressure.
  • Stage 1 hypertension. If the systolic pressure is 140-159 or diastolic pressure is 90-99.
  • Stage 2 hypertension. When systolic blood pressure is 160 or higher or diastolic blood pressure is 100 or higher.

Recognizing food triggers of hypertension.

Some people don’t realize what they eat every day. For those who aspire to keep their blood pressure in the normal range, a habit of watching your food intake and content may begin.

Foods for hypertension should not include foods containing sodium. The less sodium you feed on, the more you’ll have your blood pressure under control. Foods rich in sodium include canned foods, processed foods, and ready-to-eat foods.

Instead, consume plenty of foods that contain potassium, magnesium, and fiber to help control blood pressure.

Beware of salt!

It may seem redundant to say, but salt is an archenemy when it comes to hypertension. The World Health Organization suggests consuming no more than 5 grams of table salt per day.

So, it is good to prefer natural foods containing little salt and avoid industrial or processed ones. Some examples of the latter are hamburgers, cured meats, sausages, preserved meats, aged cheeses, and cooking cubes.

It is better to prefer salt with iodine, or if we want, we can replace it with other substances that give flavor to our dishes without hurting us. Lemon, vinegar, herbs, and spices such as pepper and curry, just to name a few.

If necessary, keep a journal to measure the quantity of salt in the food you eat. Make sure to go through the label if you eat packaged foods.

You can gradually make changes by limiting your sodium intake by about one teaspoon per day. When the body has adapted, reduce again to about 2/3 of the tablespoon per day.

To add to the aroma and taste of food, you can consume low-sodium spices such as numerous other natural herbs or vinegar.

Foods to avoid with high blood pressure.

1.   Licorice.

Licorice is food with multiple properties. Because of its content in Glycyrrhizin, one must avoid it in case of high blood pressure because it acts directly on the metabolism of corticosteroids inducing an increase in cortisol in the kidney, with an action similar to that of aldosterone.

2.   Salt.

Excessive consumption of salt, especially in susceptible people, is a very important risk factor considered. The guidelines suggest salt consumption equal to 1 teaspoon of table salt per day, which one can possibly further decrease in case of moderate to severe hypertension, in agreement with their doctor.

3.  Alcohol.

The abuse of alcoholic beverages directly links to a rise in blood pressure in both men and women. It is hence advisable to abstain from using alcoholic beverages or to reduce them. In this regard, women shouldn’t exceed one alcohol unit (1 bottle of beer or one glass of wine) per day, and in men, the limit should be equal to 2 alcohol units per day.

4.  Stock cube.

The nut that is often used to flavor dishes or prepare broths is a portion of food particularly rich in salt and, therefore, should be limited or replaced. To improve the taste of dishes and make them more palatable, we recommend the use of spices and aromatic herbs.

5.  Sliced.

As for cold cuts, it is advisable to avoid the fattest ones, such as sausages, lard, and bacon. Besides having a high content of “hidden” salt, these foods are also rich in fat and, if not managed correctly, could increase body weight and lead to obesity. Other cold cuts such as raw ham, cooked ham, speck, and bresaola also contain abundant salt for their conservation.

6.   Coffee.

A correlation has not yet been demonstrated between the consumption of coffee and the development of hypertension. In particular, it would seem that coffee can increase blood pressure in the minutes following its consumption.

Actually, not just coffee. Tea and soda also increase blood pressure. All of this is due to the caffeine present in these drinks.

7.   Salty cheeses.

Some cheeses contain very high amounts of salt. For this reason, in hypertension, one must avoid them and go for cheeses with lower salt content, such as ricotta.

8.   Pickles.

Pickled cucumbers are delicious, but the manufacturing process requires salt so the cucumber doesn’t rot quickly. So, it is better to avoid them and not to end up raising your blood pressure.

9.   Canned sauces.

Tomato sauce, pasta sauce, and tomato juice packed in a can contain high levels of sodium. In one cup, the sauces contain more than 450mg of sodium, which can raise blood pressure.

10.  Soy sauce.

According to the official databases, after salt and cooking cube, the 3rd product, the richest in sodium, is soy sauce, which is now commonly found on our tables or in our frequent restaurants. So be careful, if you are hypertensive, to become used to it.

11.  Smoked salmon.

Smoked salmon, often used as a source of fish and considered a healthy food, is rich in salt and contains just under 2000 mg of salt per 100 g of product. In the case of hypertension, replacing this product with fresh or frozen fish is advisable.

12.  Pizza.

We close this list with a product rich in “hidden” salt: eating a pizza, we certainly do not notice its flavor. In fact, the tastes that arrive first on the palate are quite different. However, a pizza with tomato and mozzarella contains no less than 3 grams of sodium, which is higher than our daily requirement.

Potassium and calcium are against hypertension.

Potassium is useful to combat hypertension. This mineral regulates the contraction and dilation of muscle fibers, including blood vessels that affect pressure. Even football helps reduce the pressure values. These substances are also present in fruits and vegetables: potassium, in particular, in bananas, peaches, legumes, and oilseeds, and calcium in milk and yogurt.

Apply a healthy diet.

Eating hypertension should be avoided and replaced with a healthy diet to keep blood pressure stable. The recommended diet to reduce hypertension is the DASH or dietary approach to stop hypertension.

There are four core doctrines of the DASH diet, namely:

  • Increase your nutrient intake from whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts.
  • Also, increase your consumption of low-fat fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
  • Cut back on salt, sweet foods and drinks, and red meat.
  • Cut down on nutrition high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans-fat.

Although no foods can reduce hypertension quickly, some foods can help reduce it slowly.

Below are certain foods that can benefit in keeping blood pressure under control.

  • Green leafy vegetables.

Lettuce, spinach, and kale are all great examples and provide essential nutrients and fiber. Choose fresh vegetables whenever possible. Canned and frozen varieties may contain added salt.

  • Broccoli.

They are full of nutrients without boosting total calories. Not only is broccoli inexpensive, but highly versatile.

  • Potatoes.

Although considered a starchy vegetable, potatoes are packed with nutrients. They provide high amounts of potassium, a mineral and an essential electrolyte that has a documented role in preventing hypertension. Avoid sodium-rich potato chips from fast food.

  • Apples.

An apple a day could keep blood pressure at bay. They are a healthy fruit rich in fiber, a plant component supporting heart health and lowering blood pressure. They increase uric acid in the blood, which contributes to high levels of antioxidants, ultimately protecting blood vessels from damage.

  • Bananas.

Daily consumption can help lower blood pressure, thanks to its potassium content.

  • Cherries.

In addition to being a low glycemic index fruit, they can help lower blood pressure. It is especially true with sour cherries. The juice may help in treating and preventing muscle aches.

  • Pears.

The peel of pears contains a powerful antioxidant, “quercetin,” which helps reduce high blood pressure levels. Pears also offers a large amount of heart-healthy nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

  • Citrus fruits.

Citrus fruits, including grapefruit, oranges, and lemons, can have powerful hypotensive effects. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that can help keep the heart healthy by decreasing the risk aspects for heart disease, such as high blood pressure.

  • Oats.

Economical and versatile, it makes an excellent contribution to a balanced diet. Offers vegetable protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, and more.

  • Beans.

Beans are a great protein source. Their high fiber, potassium, and magnesium content can help lower blood pressure.

  • Milk.

It is an exceptional source of calcium. Along with bone health, calcium can positively impact blood pressure. To limit your overall fat and calorie content, choose a low-fat option. If you’re lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy, try plant-based milk but try to stick to unsweetened products.

Keep an eye on the scales.

Hypertension is also fought with the scales: for every kilogram of body weight, blood pressure reduces by one millimeter of mercury. In addition to practicing physical activity to stay in shape, limiting foods that are more fatty and low in nutrients, such as sugary drinks and sweets, is recommended.

Turning to drinks against hypertension, it is advisable not to exceed one glass of wine per meal for men and one glass per day for women. Greenlight instead, of course, for water. With a clarification: for hypertensive people, the one with little sodium and high calcium content is better.


Avoid hypertensive foods and follow a healthy diet to keep blood pressure stable. Also, take regular blood pressure measurements. If necessary, try using a blood pressure monitor at home as well. Consult this during a regular visit to the doctor if there is a change in your blood pressure.

Similar Posts