Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is when the arteries experience high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood against the walls of arteries. The heart pumps blood to the whole body through arteries. When the arteries are narrowed, the heart has to work extra to pump the blood, which results in elevated blood pressure.
The normal blood pressure level is when it is lower than or equal to 120/80 mmHg. When these figures increase and persistently remain higher (140/90 mmHg or more) the condition is called hypertension.
Effects of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be a risky health disorder if it prolongs. Hypertension can damage internal organs and lead to other health problems. These illnesses can be related to heart such as heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, aneurysm and others such as renal failure. Hypertension can also accelerate brain aging especially in middle aged and young people.
How to Reduce Hypertension?
Lifestyle changes are necessary to lower high blood pressure and to bring it down to normal. Losing excess weight, healthy diet pattern, cessation of alcohol, smoking and an active lifestyle are prerequisites for relief from hypertension. People with hypertension need to also reduce their sodium intake. Processed foods such as canned soups, pickles, deli meat, noodles, frozen pizza and other packaged foods contain excess sodium.
Foods to Avoid During Hypertension
The right diet also means there are certain foods people with hypertension must avoid for relief from the condition. Cut red meat from your diet if your blood pressure is consistently high. So is it no to steak for good? The ideal situation is of course complete elimination of red meat from the diet. At the least hypertension patients can reduce the intake of steak with excess salt or salt-rich sauces.
Also avoid pickles, canned soups, whole milk and fatty dairy products, sauerkraut, French fries from fast food shops, packaged noodles, bacon, sugar and foods high in sugar such as donuts, cakes, and chocolates. Also reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol from your diet.
Processed foods are convenient to use but the sodium, fat, sugar and preservatives that go into it are of no good. Salt is used in the curing and preservation process of the meat and even one serving of processed meat can elevate sodium levels in the body. Deli meat, sausages, nuggets, patties, are some of the processed meat products. Instant soup, food mixes, ketchup, sauce contain sodium more than that we require in a day.
Ready made frozen foods like frozen pizza, frozen dinner which just needs to be heated before intake contain high amounts of salt and saturated fats to retain its flavor.
Saturated Fat and Trans Fat
Hypertension patients must avoid or at least consume less of saturated fats and all foods with trans fats. Butter, cheese, cream, chicken skin, lard, beef fat (tallow), red meat contain high amount of saturated fats. Trans fat is present in baked goods including cakes, piecrusts, biscuits, cookies, crackers, stick margarines and spreads.
Excessive alcohol consumption or binge drinking can elevate blood pressure. Alcohol causes damage to the arteries and shoots up blood pressure. Even occasional drinking or a few drinks at a time causes blood pressure to increase temporality. Even a small reduction in your alcohol intake can lower your blood pressure over a period of time.
Red meat consumption may certainly increase blood pressure. Red meats are full of saturated fats, which is really bad for heart and thus also for blood pressure. Saturated fat quickens the process of atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries that leads to heart diseases.
Excessive sugar consumption leads to weight gain and excess weight can contribute to elevated blood pressure. It is better for hypertension patients to avoid or eat less of sugar-rich foods. This is especially true for sugar-rich foods made with processed flours such as donuts, pastries and other sugary treats with butter and cream added for flavor. Also avoid or limit your intake of typical sugar staples in the pantry such as jams, jellies and sugary drinks such as lemonade and soda.
Table salt is almost 40% sodium. Sodium in large amounts damages the heart and also the arteries and elevates blood pressure. Table salt amount in the food can be reduced by using other flavors such as lemon juice, vinegar and spices. Limiting salt consumption to 3 grams per day reduces blood pressure and 16% reduced chance of ischaemic heart disease deaths.
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