If you have high blood pressure, I bet you’ve heard a lot of suggestions about foods you shouldn’t eat. What are your favorite foods? Have you thought about what effect those foods are having on your blood pressure?
I have a list of 3 foods that you should stop eating if you have high blood pressure. Are your favorites on the list? I hope not!
1. Canned soup
Feeling brave today? Pull a can of your favorite soup out of the cupboard and check the nutrition panel. Yikes!
Each can of soup has 2 to 2 1/2 servings of soup. Each serving usually has about 500 mg of sodium. That means that (since everyone eats an entire can of soup) you are getting over half your daily allotment of sodium in one fell swoop!
If you love soup (and I LOVE soup, so I completely sympathize) your best bet is to make your own.
Feel intimidated? Don’t! It’s actually quite easy to make your own soup, and yummy too. There are lots of great recipes out there, and as long as you use low-sodium broth you’ll be able to make great soup without adding lots of sodium to your diet. Make big batches and freeze for later!
My favorite soup is this recipe for black bean soup. It’s completely plant based and SUPER yummy 🙂
Most margarine is completely artificial. Pull out your tub of margarine and check the nutrition label. If there is mention of PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED <INSERT VEGETABLE> OIL you need to put that margarine directly in the trash.
Partially hydrogenated oil equals trans fat. Trans fats are artificial fats that have been shown to increase cancer risk. They also have been shown to increase C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation and increased risk of heart disease) and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
If you have high blood pressure you do not need to be using products that contain trans fats. A much better choice to top your toast would be a little jam or honey. Olive oil (especially with herbs) is a yummy alternative as well.
For baking I actually recommend real butter. Since none of us health-conscious eaters is eating bakery regularly (right, guys?) an occasional indulgence is OK. Butter also has medium-chain triglycerides which raise the metabolic rate and help you burn more calories.
Sorry guys! Alcohol raises the blood pressure. In fact, one of the first questions I ask when I find a twentysomething man with high blood pressure is “How much are you drinking?” Usually the answer indicates there is work to be done!
However there are good qualities to drinking alcohol. In particular, red wine has resveratol and other plant antioxidants that are good for the cardiovascular systems. And modest alcohol intake is one of the few ways to raise the HDL (good cholesterol) level in the blood.
So how much alcohol is too much? Current guidelines recommend no more than 2 drinks per day and 7 drinks per week for women, 3 drinks per day and 14 drinks per week for men.
Be aware that binge drinking raises the blood pressure substantially as well. If you’re saying “Well I don’t drink more than that recommended amount per week,” but you’re getting all that alcohol on Saturday, you’re missing the point 😉
Dietary habits have a big impact on the blood pressure. If you watch your intake of sodium, artificial fats, and alcohol, you’ll be making good progress towards controlling your blood pressure and minimizing your need for medications.
PS – If you are obese and have hypertension, weight loss also can really help with controlling the blood pressure. Check out this page for information about losing weight.