Having healthy blood pressure allows oxygen and many nutrients to reach the tissues and organs of our body. But if your blood pressure is too high, you can put your body at increased risk of suffer a stroke, heart failure, loss of visionand many other disreputable results.
Almost half of all American adults have high blood pressure, making it a condition that is not uncommon to experience. And while your genetics and age are factors that play a role in your risk over which you unfortunately have no control, dietary and lifestyle choices like smoking, not participating in physical activity, and drinking too much alcohol can also have a negative impact on your blood pressure.
When it comes to our food choices, many people who are focused on managing healthy blood pressure already know that eating too many salty and fried foods is not recommended. And while it’s recommended that you continue to limit your intake of sodium and fried foods, there are some other eating habits that can raise your blood pressure that are totally off your radar.
If you’re committed to healthy blood pressure management and want to follow the best dietary advice to achieve that goal, read on for five eating habits that can secretly raise your blood pressure and that you should start limiting.
Many of us know that shaking the salt shaker too much on your food is forbidden when trying to lower your blood pressure. But some sauces that are commonly added to stir-fries, baked fish dishes and other seemingly healthy options can also be loaded with sodium. A single tablespoon of soy sauce contains 818 milligrams of sodium, or just over 35% of the recommended intake of this mineral (based on a daily sodium limit of 2,300 milligrams). And that miso paste that you add to your soups and other dishes contains just over 600 milligrams of sodium per tablespoonor 26% of the recommended daily intake.
Salt tends to be the ingredient that gets all the attention when it comes to managing blood pressure, but added sugar may play an important role in raising blood pressure, as well. A high intake of added sugars can increase the risk of obesity, which, in turn, can increase blood pressure if a person develops this disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6% of calories per day, which is a good general rule.
Common foods with added sugars include cookies, candies, and cakes. Foods like fresh fruits contain natural sugars and can therefore be consumed in appropriate amounts.
Salmon, shrimp, and Alaskan pollock are all seafood options that contain lower levels of mercury and offer healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. Data shows that moderate consumption of fatty fish can reduce diastolic blood pressure in some populations. According to a meta-analysis published in the journal, increased consumption of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in seafood, may be beneficial for the primary prevention of high blood pressure. Nutrients.
When choosing your seafood fish, avoid fried choices and salted or smoked options which can be high in sodium.
The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet, is a diet that was created to reduce the prevalence of hypertension, and it emphasizes the intake of three minerals that play a positive role in blood pressure : calcium, potassium and magnesium.
If you’re one of the many people who aren’t getting enough of this important mineral, try adding a glass of 2% milk to your day, enjoying a handful of nuts at snack time, or slicing some avocado on your midday sandwich. Exploring a magnesium supplement with your healthcare provider may be a viable next step if your diet continues to miss the magnesium goal.
There are plenty of cured and smoked meats that are marketed as a better choice for you. And while they can be made with quality ingredients, most options are still loaded with sodium. No matter how natural and healthy a brand of jerky or smoked meat may seem, you should always check the nutrition label before indulging to make sure your choice isn’t a sodium bomb.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning dietitian, book author and recipe creator who has been practicing for nearly 20 years. Read more