If you suffer from high blood pressure, know you’re not alone. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of American adults actually have high blood pressure but don’t know it, as most of the time, there aren’t many obvious symptoms. If you do have high blood pressure and it’s left untreated, your circulatory system can be severely damaged and it can lead to other serious issues such as heart attack and stroke.
There are things you can do to help control your blood pressure, and that starts with the foods you’re eating. Your best bet? To avoid the worst foods that make your blood pressure worse. So we went ahead and rounded up a list of the 13 worst foods for high blood pressure so you can eliminate these culprits from your diet once and for all. Instead, stock up on the healthy foods that help lower your blood pressure! And while you’re working toward making healthier life changes, check out What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day.
There is tons of evidence out there that high sodium intake is associated with a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. Potato chips are the ultimate (unhealthy!) salty snack, and if you find yourself eating potato chips regularly, you’re going to end up setting yourself up for disaster. One study found a connection between eating potato chips and an increase in heart disease.
The issue with that canned version of chicken noodle soup? It’s packing a ton of sodium, too. Campbell’s Creamy Chicken Noodle, for example, conatins 790 milligrams of sodium for one serving. One entire can—which we all know is easy to eat in one sitting—has 1,720 milligrams of sodium. Keep in mind the American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day, with hopes of moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams per day for most adults.
Sorry to say, but pizza is another food that isn’t helping your heart or your blood pressure. It not only has tons of sodium, but it also is packing in saturated fat. Need more proof? Check out the unhealthiest pizzas in America.
Spuds that are fried to golden perfection might taste great, but they’re bad news for your blood pressure. They filled with fat and salt, which can lead to belly fat, and if you have more fat that’s stored in your midsection, your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels are all going to end up being high as well. Researchers from Harvard Medical School even looked at more than 187,000 men and women across three studies and found that those who ate four or more servings a week of French fries were at a 17% higher risk of having high blood pressure.
It’s no secret that soda is never an ideal drink, but if you need another reason to try and quit your Coca-Cola habit, let this be it. One study found that those who drank more than one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage each day had higher blood pressure, putting them at greater risk for cardiovascular problems. It’s just one of the scary side effects of drinking too much soda!
Deli meats are often loaded with sodium and they often contain the preservative sodium nitrate. Nitrates are actually linked to potential heart disease risk. You’re going to want to skip those hefty, meat-packed sub sandwiches!
And like the deli meats before it, bacon is also a no-go for the same reasons. It too has tons of sodium, which we know contributes to hypertension, and it contains those pesky nitrates.
If you happen to pour yourself a few drinks each night to unwind, you might want to rethink this de-stressing activity. The AHA recommends limiting alcohol consumption to prevent high blood pressure as drinking too much alcohol can indeed raise your pressure.
You might not even realize this about your favorite store-bought salad dressing, but there’s a good chance you’ll find one unexpected ingredient: high fructose corn syrup. If your diet is packed with sugar, including HFCS, you’re at a more increased risk for obesity and high blood pressure.
In fact, one study found that high amounts of fructose from added sugar may lead to increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure. So if your pressure is already not as low as you want it to be, you can imagine more of the sweet stuff in foods you don’t even realize is only going to make things worse for you.
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The FDA recommends you should consume less than 10 percent of your daily calories from added sugar. There’s a good chance many people are consuming more than that each day, and if you happen to turn to a donut or other beloved baked good for breakfast and dessert, you’re in the danger zone. All of this added sugar isn’t great for heart health and one study found that an increased consumption of added sugars may be associated with adverse cardiovascular health factors such as higher blood pressure.
We know, this is a food you were hoping wouldn’t be on this list. Unfortunately, Chinese takeout is often loaded up with hefty amounts of sugar, fats, and salt, all of which can elevate your risk of high blood pressure.
You’re going to want to pump the breaks before hitting the drive-thru if you already have high blood pressure. These meals of burgers, chicken sandwiches, and other calorie-bombs are overloaded with fat, saturated fats, and sodium. One 2019 study even found evidence that fast-food consumption directly raises blood pressure. So those weekly trips to McDonald’s are going to have to stop ASAP!
Frozen dinners are quick and easy, which is great for those days when you don’t have a ton of time to whip up something in the kitchen. Sadly, plenty of these meals are loaded with sodium. Banquet’s Salisbury Steak Meal, for example, is packing 1,340 milligrams of sodium, and 11 grams of sugar, too. It’s easy to see how eating these frequently can make your pressure worse. Stay away!