April 22, 2024

Preserved sausages and hams displays for sell at a supermarket at Happy Valley. 27OCT15 (Photo by Sam Tsang/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)

Those who have consistently high blood pressure suffer from hypertension, and they need to watch their salt and sugar intake. Over three-fourths of our salt consumption comes from sneaky sources.

From the type of cheese you buy to condiments, many foods sneak salt, sugar, and fats into your diet. Once you know about these foods, you can avoid them–and gradually lower your blood pressure. Learn about the foods that people with hypertension should avoid.

Limit Your Cheeses (And Choose The Right Ones)

It’s a myth that people with high blood pressure have to cut out cheese completely. You can eat cheese, but how much depends on the type of cheese. According to Heart Health, some cheeses contain more sodium than seawater. These include feta, halloumi, Roquefort, and cheese singles.

A saleswoman reaches for a cheese wheel.
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If you want cheese with less saturated fat and salt, opt for mozzarella and cottage cheeses. And don’t discount reduced-fat cheese. They have the same flavor as regular cheese with 25% less fat. As long as you limit your portion sizes, you can eat these cheeses without worry.

More Soda Equals Higher Blood Pressure

Two girls pour soda at the 'Taste It!' exhibit in the World of Coca-Cola.

Research suggests that cutting back on your soda intake could save your blood pressure. In 2011, scientists from the Imperial College in London analyzed almost 2,700 soda drinkers. Participants who drank more than one sweetened beverage a day had high blood pressure. Even worse, it kept increasing the more they drank.

The research identified the culprits as glucose, fructose, and salt. These are the most common sweeteners and preservatives used in soda. Fortunately, diet soda doesn’t cause the same effect, and cutting back on one soda per day does wonders for your blood pressure.

Don’t Buy Deli Meat

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Pre-sliced deli meats are like sodium bombs. An average two-ounce serving of delicatessen lunch meat offers upwards of 500 grams of sodium. Even a leaner option like turkey quickly adds up to 1000 mg with only three slices. On the worse end, a single serving of Genoa provides 910 mg of salt.

If you put these pre-sliced meats on a sandwich, you’ll only load up on more salt. Mustard, pickles, cheese–even whole wheat bread averages between 200 mg and 400 mg of sodium. Save yourself the hassle by buying fresh meat or cooking it yourself.

The Long Debate Over Coffee, Answered

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The studies equating blood pressure and coffee are conflicting, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But after studying all the research, Switz scientists discovered that espresso spikes blood pressure more than plain caffeine. Strangely, noncaffeinated espresso did not cause this spike.

On the flip-side, Harvard researchers have found no link between heart disease and coffee, even in heavy drinkers. What’s the takeaway? It varies by person. If you feel fine after drinking coffee, you can continue to enjoy it in moderation. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to cut it out of your diet.

Sugar Is Worse Than Salt

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When it comes to hypertension, many people focus on sodium. But research from 2014 argues that sugar is worse for blood pressure than salt. Published in Open Heart, the study states that sugar increases insulin, which speeds up the heart and blood pressure.

According to the study, participants who ate high sugar meals for two weeks experienced a noticeable spike in blood pressure. The authors assert that because too little sodium harms peoples’ health, people with hypertension should focus more on cutting out sugar.

Be Wary Of Canned Tomato Products

Worker wearing gloves holds a heart-shaped tomato.

Most canned and bottled tomato sauces are preserved with sodium. According to the USDA, half a cup of classic marinara sauce has well over 400 mg of salt. A cup of tomato juice raises the sodium to 600 mg. If you don’t measure your sauce, the salt will sneak its way into your diet.

Fortunately, a study in Food Science & Nutrition confirmed that unsalted tomato sauces lower hypertension and cholesterol. The American Heart Association offers recipes to make your own tomato products. If you need to buy some, search for a low-sodium option.

How You Cook Red Meat Matters

A cooker puts salt on beef in a traditional grill restaurant.

Although many studies have pointed fingers at red meat, new research suggests that the cooking method has more to do with high blood pressure. In 2018, researchers presented concluded a 16-year study about cooking red meat and fish. They concluded that high-temperature cooking, such as open flame, raised the risk of hypertension.

Participants who grilled their meat and fish were 17% more likely to develop hypertension than those who broiled or roasted their meat. Researchers believe that over-cooking increases the inflammatory response in the body, raising blood pressure. Also, restrict your red meat consumption to twice a week.

Condiments Are Sneaky Salt Sources

Hellmann's jars of mayonnaise are seen on a shelf at a store.

Salt sneaks into almost every condiment. For instance, ketchup supplies 160 mg of salt per tablespoon. Teriyaki sauce marinades have almost 700 mg of sodium. Soy sauce is the worst: 1,500 mg of salt per one tablespoon! And many people glaze more than one tablespoon on their meals.

The American Heart Association recommends finding low-sodium alternatives. You can make your own hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and ketchup at home. For salad dressings, hunt down a fat-free or “light” version. And always remember to measure out your portions.

White Potatoes, In Any Form, Increase Blood Pressure

A doctor speaks to a patient as a sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure meter, lies on his desk.
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Potato chips aren’t the only type of potato that is bad for hypertension. In 2016, scientists reported their findings on potatoes from over 20 years of research. According to them, those who ate boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes four times a week were 11% more likely to develop high blood pressure.

When potatoes mix with sodium, the result rises. Participants who ate french fries four or more times a week were 17% more likely to develop high blood pressure. Although potatoes can help in moderation due to their potassium, they have such a high glycemic index that you should eat them sparingly.

Avoid Milk Chocolate And White Chocolate

A person picks white chocolate from a stack of chocolates.
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The lighter the chocolate, the more sugar it has. One cup of milk chocolate chips contains over 86 grams of sugar, whereas the same amount of white chocolate supplies 100 grams of sugar. According to a study in Open Heart, excess sugar is worse for hypertension than salt.

But there is good news. During a 2018 Harvard study, researchers concluded that dark chocolate might lower blood pressure. Because dark chocolate has 50% to 70% cocoa, it provides natural flavonoids that dilate blood vessels. But while dark chocolate has 50 mg of flavonoids, milk chocolate only contains 16 mg.

The Salt In Canned Beans Is Unavoidable

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On their own, beans and legumes help lower blood pressure. But canned beans have added ingredients built to preserve them, namely salt. Many canned beans contain well over 1,000 mg of sodium. Although many people recommend rinsing the beans to get rid of salt, that doesn’t help much for hypertension patients.

According to physicians from Pritikin, soaking beans for ten minutes and rinsing them only removes 30% of the salt. In a can with 1,000 mg of sodium, that leaves 700 mg. It’s not a big enough difference to make canned beans healthy.

Don’t Cook With Certain Vegetable Oils

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Some vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which harm blood pressure levels. According to a 2019 study in Open Heart, omega-6’s increase blood pressure through their high amounts of linoleic acid. Unfortunately, many of these high omega-6 oils slip into various foods.

During a 2011 study, rats who were fed palm and soy oils experienced a noticeable increase in blood pressure. Other oils with high omega-6s include sunflower, corn, and cottonseed oils. Opt for more healthy cooking oils such as olive, coconut, and avocado. Even canola has less harmful omega-6s than other options.

Substitute High-Fat Whole Milk

Dairy products are on shelves inside of a refrigerator in Shaw's grocery store.
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High-fat foods make blood pressure worse, and fatty milk is no exception. Whole milk has high saturated fat, with one cup containing eight grams of fat and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding these saturated fats since they build up in your artery walls.

On the other hand, drinking low-fat milk alleviates high blood pressure. After analyzing over 60,000 people in 2014, researchers determined that drinking two cups of low-fat milk a day lowers the risk of hypertension. The calcium, potassium, and magnesium help to reduce blood pressure.

Mind The Salt In Sauerkraut

Cook adds Morses sauerkraut to a pan.
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Sauerkraut is a high-sodium fermented food. One cup of sauerkraut has well over 900 mg of sodium. The only low-sodium option is raw, naturally fermented sauerkraut, and it’s not the same. Despite the salt, eating sauerkraut in moderation can benefit your blood pressure levels.

According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, participants who ate fermented foods daily (such as kimchi) experienced lower weight and blood pressure. Sauerkraut’s high amount of potassium may help your blood pressure levels if you limit your portion sizes.

BPA Is A Big Risk In Canned Soups

Man has his blood pressure measured by Linda Williams, a medical assistant.
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It’s no secret that canned soup has high amounts of salt. But 2014 research in Hypertension suggests a more dangerous culprit, bisphenol A (BPA). According to researchers, this chemical can raise blood pressure up to 16 times its normal level. BPA is found in plastics and can linings.

Compared to other canned foods, soup threatens to have most BPA. After measuring participants’ urine, researchers noted that they had 1000% more BPA from eating canned soup for five days, as opposed to homemade soup. Don’t risk this for a can of soup.

Donuts–Just Don’t

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Donuts are one of the least healthy pastries you can east, especially if you have high blood pressure. They combine frying with sugar, two of the worst ingredients for hypertension. According to 2014 research from New Zealand, the more sugar we eat, the higher our blood pressure rises. And donuts have between 10 to 20 grams of sugar on average.

If that isn’t enough, an average donut has well over 300 calories. Many are made of 42% fat and 54% carbs. And that’s not even considering the fried component. In short: pick another pastry for your breakfast treat.

Energy Drinks Alter Your Heart Rate

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Like other highly-caffeinated drinks, energy drinks affect your blood pressure. But according to 2019 research by the American Heart Association, it also changes your heart rate. During the study, people who drank 32 ounces of energy drinks raised blood pressure and heart rate after 30 minutes.

The researchers emphasize that those with high blood pressure should avoid energy drinks. Otherwise, they’ll have a higher risk of ventricular arrhythmias, a fatal condition that causes abnormal heartbeats. If you have high blood pressure, get your caffeine fix elsewhere.

Why You Shouldn’t Eat White Rice

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Like bread, rice can help or harm blood pressure depending on the type you eat. Refined white rice is the most dangerous option. Stripped of bran and germ, white rice has none of the nutrients of whole wheat rice. According to Harvard research, people who ate more than five servings of white rice per week have a 17% greater chance of type 2 diabetes.

There is some good news for white rice, and that’s in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). During a 2015 study, GABA rice was found to improve blood pressure in hypertensive people. But common store-bought white rice doesn’t have this benefit.

 

Don’t Pick Pickles

Chopped cucumber soaks in pickle jars.
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Although they’re tasty, pickles are the epitome of “salty food.” A medium-sized pickle supplies a max of 800 mg of salt, over half of your daily recommended dose on a low-sodium diet. In 2018, a study by LiveStrong confirmed that eating pickles raises blood pressure.

As with all high-sodium foods, pickles are fine in moderation. But combined with other salty foods–deli meat sandwiches, cheeses, and hot dogs–will heighten your salt intake considerably. Salt places greater pressure on your blood vessels, which increases blood pressure. If you like pickles, restrict your serving sizes.

Watch Your Peanut Butter Servings

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Peanut butter can work in a hypertensive diet. However, you’ll need to monitor the peanut butter closely. Many peanut butters contain added sugars and vegetable oils, both of which can clog arteries. Look out for nut butters with partially hydrogenated oils, palm oils, and soy oils.

The American Heart Association’s hypertension diet allows a small amount of peanut butter that can lower blood pressure. They allot one serving (two tablespoons) four to five times a week. The National Peanut Board also advises choosing butters with fully hydrogenated oil, which has no trans fats.

Steer Clear Of Fried Meals

A person removes fried fish fillets from a frying pan.
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Corn dogs, chicken tenders, and fries are never the healthiest choice, but they’re more dangerous for people with high blood pressure. To the surprise of no one, a 2019 study confirmed that the more you eat, the worse your blood pressure becomes. Participants who ate fried food daily had a 14% greater chance of developing heart disease.

A prior study in 2018 indicated that a Southern American diet (with more fried food) worsens blood pressure by up to 17%. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the American Heart Association advises people with high blood pressure to steer clear of fried foods.

Easy-Made Ramen Is A Mistake

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Although instant ramen noodles may make a quick meal, they also pose a health risk. According to a 2014 study in The Journal of Nutrition, eating instant noodles more than two times a week raised the risk of high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome. And that’s excluding the potential for weight gain.

An average pack of instant ramen noodles supplies 1,820 mg of salt. That’s two-thirds of the FDA’s daily sodium recommendation. Plus, instant ramen is preserved with Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which your body struggles to digest. It’s an overall high blood pressure trap.

Frozen Pot Pies Are Both Salty And Fatty

The frozen meal box is for a Marie Callender's chicken pot pie.
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Like many processed foods, frozen pot pies are packed with sodium. A single serving contains 1,400 mg of sodium. For reference, the American Heart Association recommends only 1,500 mg of salt per day for adults with high blood pressure. If you have two servings, you’ll be way over your salt limit.

Frozen pot pies also supply over 40 grams of fat, including saturated and trans fats. You’d potentially ruin your day’s diet with one serving of pot pie. The good news: if you bake a pot pie at home, you can cut down on sodium and fat.

Frozen Pizza Has Only Bad Ingredients

Annie's organic frozen pizza is cooked and lies on a cutting board.
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Tomato sauces and cheeses naturally have salt. Combine that with sodium preservatives, and you have an unhealthy meal. Some frozen pizzas, such as Dr. Oetker’s and Morrisons, have well over five grams of sodium. Remember that the daily recommended intake for people with hypertension is 2.3 grams maximum.

“Adults should eat no more than six grams of salt a day,” reports the National Health Association. A single frozen pizza has well over that amount. And that’s not accounting for the amount of fat in pre-made pizzas, too.

Butter Has Too Many Saturated Fats

Close-up shot displays butter with toast.
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Butter is filled with saturated fats. While a little saturated fat is okay and even healthy, more doesn’t equal better. According to a 2016 study in the Iranian Journal of Neurology, a diet high in saturated fat results in high blood pressure across the board. Dairy butter has a whopping seven grams of saturated fat per serving.

Although some people have praised dairy butter for protein, the truth is that one serving of butter only supplies 0.1 grams of protein. It’s not enough to make a difference, especially not in your blood pressure.

Pre-Made Banana Bread Isn’t Healthy

Banana bread from Huckleberry is laid out on a cutting board.
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Depending on where you get your banana bread, it can work for or against you. If you buy one from the store, chances are that one serving will give you 20 grams of sugar and nine grams of fat, mostly trans fats. Both of these ingredients are discouraged by the American Heart Association for patients with high blood pressure.

However, you can enjoy banana bread if you make it yourself. According to Nutritionist and Dietitian Megan Ware, bananas contribute to lower blood pressure. Use less sugar and whole-grain bread for a healthy banana bread recipe.

White Bread Is Salty

A boy spreads butter on white bread.
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Believe it or not, many types of store-bought white bread contain salt. For instance, a slice of Sara Lee white bread provides 130 mg of salt per slice, which is 6% of your daily recommended sodium. While this sounds low in theory, combine two slices with deli meat, pickles, and condiments, and you’ll have a blood pressure-raising sodium pill.

Blood Pressure UK recommends buying low-salt or no-sodium bread. You can ask your local baker to make salt-free bread or bake the bread yourself. Also, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension recommends whole grain.

Bacon Has No Benefits

Bacon cooks in a frying pan.
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While bacon is delicious, it supplies close to nothing in nutritional value. One serving of bacon supplies one-fourth of your daily fat intake, with mostly saturated fats. In 2011, a study in the journal Hypertension reported that high amounts of saturated fat increase blood pressure.

“I think bacon is probably one of the worst foods on the planet,” cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Omid Javaid told Fox News. “When you look at its content, it’s pure fat and cholesterol.” And we haven’t even touched upon 270 mg of sodium per serving. Yikes!

Skip Happy Hour

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If you have high blood pressure, watch how much you drink. During a 2019 study by the American College of Cardiology, researchers concluded that even moderate drinking still raises one’s blood pressure. Only seven to 13 drinks per week negatively impact hypertension.

Researchers believe that either the calorie gain or liver strain contributes to the spike in blood pressure. Either way, you’ll want to limit your happy hour time. If you’re under 65, you won’t want to exceed two drinks per day. Those over 65 can only have one drink per day.

Watch The Chinese Take-Out

Customers eat lunch at Tasty Dining, a Chinese style restaurant.
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It’s no secret that Chinese restaurant food is filled with sodium, but many people don’t know how much. According to Fox News, a standard entrée of beef and broccoli has over 3,000 mg of salt. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg of sodium for patients with hypertension.

Are you willing to double your daily recommended salt in one meal alone? Probably not. Granted, some Chinese places offer low salt options, but takeout and fast-food restaurants are the worst culprits. Buy your food somewhere else.

Do Not Drink Anything From A Can

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You now know that canned foods harm blood pressure. But did you know that the same applies to canned drinks? In 2014, scientists from South Korea compared glass bottle drinks to canned drinks. According to them, a canned beverages can raise your blood pressure by 16 times compared to ones from glass bottles.

Blame the BPA in cans. According to researchers, the chemical bisphenol A disrupts hormones such as estrogen, which in turns destabilizes your blood pressure. If you want to drink sparkling water or iced tea, do not have it in a can.

A Single Hot Dog Packs A Lot Of Sodium

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A single hot dog might not seem like a lot of sodium and fat, but don’t be fooled. “People think ‘it’s low-fat and not bad for me,’” says Dr. Martha Gulati, the chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona. In reality, a single hot dog has 567 mg of sodium!

When people eat hot dogs, most people add condiments such as relish, ketchup, and mustard. These only add sodium to an already salty meal. Research in the scientific journal Hypertension proves that lowering your salt intake will lower blood pressure. Avoid hot dogs!

Check The Ingredients On Rotisserie Chicken

Several premade rotisserie chickens are on display in a grocery store.
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Premade rotisserie chickens seem like a healthy, convenient meal to pick up from the supermarket. Nutritionist Jessica Mantell told Today to scan the sodium content before picking one up. Some of them contain a surprising amount of salt, especially in the skin. “Sometimes, it could be as much as 1/2 of your daily recommended sodium intake,” she said.

And that’s not the whole chicken. A three-ounce serving (about the size of a deck of cards) could have 600 mg of salt. If you’re watching your blood pressure, you’re better off cooking chicken yourself.

Salad Dressings: Not As Healthy As They Seem

A bowl of salad leaves are seen with salad dressing and pickled vegetables.
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Salad dressings are always healthy, right? Not so fast. Many store-bought salad dressings are made with soybean and canola oils, which are not healthy for blood pressure. “[Salad dressings] can add a lot of calories, sodium, sugar, and saturated fat,” explains registered dietitian Kathy McManus.

According to Harvard Health, this added salt and sugar could have detrimental effects. Even if you’re taking medication for blood pressure, the excess sodium can negate the medication, making them virtually useless. Instead of buying salad dressings, make your own with olive oil, vinaigrettes, lemon juice, and herbs.

Artificial Sweeteners Are Not Better Than Sugar

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Many people consume artificial sweeteners to cut down on sugar or lose weight. However, studies show that these sweeteners are not as healthy as they seem. In 2017, research from Canadian Medical Association determined that artificial sweeteners can heighten blood pressure. They are also linked to heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.

Researchers explain that people who eat artificial sweeteners tend to gain weight, not lose it. Chemicals such as aspartame are bad news for people with high blood pressure. However, natural sweeteners such as Stevia might not be as harmful.

Fruit Juices Are Not As Healthy As They Sound

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Don’t be fooled: the “fruit” in fruit juice does not make it healthy. In fact, a 2014 study in the journal Appetite shows that fruit juice significantly raises a person’s blood pressure. Why? Because juice contains a dangerously high amount of sugar.

According to the Australian researchers, natural sugars in fruit hardly affect blood pressure because of the fiber. A single cup of juice has around 23 grams of sugar with zero fiber. This only heightens your blood pressure; stay away from sweetened fruit juices if you want to avoid this.

Buy Fresh Vegetables, Not Canned

A variety of preserved vegetables are seen in jars.
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Canned vegetables are inexpensive and last much longer than fresh ones. However, they contain more sodium and BPA. For instance, half a can of preserved green beans contains 200 mg of salt, compared to the 6 mg from fresh green beans.

Despite this, few people get sodium spikes from canned vegetables. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association reports that only one percent of Americans’ sodium intake comes from canned vegetables. Still, you should not eat them all the time. Always go fresh whenever you can.

Have A Banana

Have A Banana
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Bananas are so good for your heart that the USDA allowed the banana industry to market the fruit as such. These yellow packs of protein and vitamins make a great on the go snack. They also contain a whole lot of potassium, which can help counter the effect sodium has on high blood pressure.

Bananas are delicious. You can eat them on their own for breakfast, blend them into a smoothie, or turn them into pancakes with a simple no-flour recipe.

Cantaloupe Can Do it All

Cantaloupe Can Do it All
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Cantaloupe is another fruit option that you can eat to keep your blood pressure from spiking. Like bananas, cantaloupes are full of potassium. They’re not as convenient a banana, but some people find them to be more delicious.

Also, these melons are rich with choline, fiber, and vitamin C—all things that are great for heart health. Pick up a cantaloupe the next time you’re at the supermarket. You won’t regret it. Plus look how pretty and orange they are!

Carrots Fight Against Hypertension

Carrots Fight Against Hypertension
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Carrots are a great vegetable to have in a salad or all by themselves. Dip it in a hearth healthy dip and you’re good to go. Carrots, like cantaloupe and bananas, have a high level of potassium. We already know that potassium is great for counteracting the effects of sodium on your blood pressure.

In addition, the beta-carotene levels in carrots are also shown to benefit those aiming to normalize their blood pressure. Carrot juice is a delicious way to get all of these nutrients in your body.

Turmeric Is Literal Gold

Turmeric Is Literal Gold
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Turmeric is a spice that adds a gorgeous yellow color to whatever you’re cooking, plus it has a delicious nutty flavor. This spice has also been used medicinally in India for centuries.

In recent years, it’s become something of a superfood in the West. Turmeric is associated with having a positive effect on high blood pressure, particularly among people who have kidney diseases. This effect may be due to curcumin, which is a component found in turmeric.

Eat Oatmeal For Breakfast

Eat Oatmeal For Breakfast
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Breakfast can be difficult if you have high blood pressure. You definitely don’t want to indulge in salty breakfast meats such as sausage or bacon. SO what can you have instead? How about a hearty bowl of oatmeal?

One study even found that people who ate oatmeal regularly were able to reduce the need for blood pressure medication over time. That’s because oatmeal contains whole grains and fiber, which are both essential in the regulation of blood pressure.

Have Some Sunflower Seeds

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Sunflower seeds are full of fiber and healthy fats that are great for your heart health, however, make sure you’re snacking on unsalted sunflower seeds. Consuming too much salt can have a negative effect on your blood pressure.

Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamin E, a component the body uses to make blood cells and lower blood pressure. In addition, this tiny seed is full of other nutrients known for regulating blood pressure, such as magnesium and protein.

You Say Tomato, I Say A Blood Pressure Superfood

You Say Tomato, I Say A Blood Pressure Superfood
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Tomatoes are some of the most versatile food items that you can get your hands on. ou can eat them raw, throw them in a salad, cook them down to make tomato sauce, roast them, boil them, throw them in a chili, make salsa, the possibilities ae endless.

Tomatoes can make a positive impact on high blood pressure. Lycopene and potassium are components that are abundant in tomatoes and are widely associated with lowering high blood pressure.

Avocados Can Do It All

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Avocados sometimes get a bad rap for being a high-fat food, but this fruit is full of the “good fats” that can help promote healthy cholesterol. In addition, avocados can provide lutein and potassium when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

These two nutrients are essential when it comes to managing high blood pressure.

Jump On The Spinach Train

ump On The Spinach Train
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We think Popeye must have been onto something when he kept eating all of that spinach. Spinach may not give you super strength, but it can make your heart super strong.

This leafy green contains antioxidants that help reduce stress on the blood vessels, and thus, help regulate blood pressure. In addition, the peptides found in spinach are known to help lower high blood pressure. You can eat spinach on its own or blend it into a smoothie.

Kiwi Is Cool

Kiwi Is Cool
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Kiwis come with a delicious burst of flavor and a very satisfying texture. we can’t get enough of these little fuzzy green fruits. They are also ferocious when it comes to helping hypertension through diet. A 2011 study found that eating three kiwis a day over the course of eight weeks was associated with a drop in blood pressure. This is because of lutein, a type of antioxidant that is associated with reducing free radicals that can contribute to higher blood pressure.

Get your daily dose of kiwi if you want to keep your blood pressure low.

Pop Some Edamame

Pop Some Edamame
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Edamame, or soybeans, can make for a healthy snack—especially alongside sushi—that helps reduce high blood pressure.

Not only is this versatile legume contain nutrients that aid in lowering blood pressure, but it’s also packed with other things that are known to help prevent cancer, osteoporosis, as well as high cholesterol.

Munch On Beets

Munch On Beets
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If you want to beat high blood pressure, beets may be one of your best bets. Many studies have shown this root to have several health benefits, including offsetting hypertension.

One key reason beets are so beneficial is their level of nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure. Not into eating beets? Beet juice can also help!

Blueberries Are A Superfood

Blueberries Are A Superfood
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Blueberries are an incredible topping—and an even more incredible superfood. Full to the brim with flavonoids, these berries can make for a great way to help sustain normal blood pressure levels.

According to some research, two cups of frozen or fresh blueberries each day over the course of eight weeks can help lower blood pressure by as much as 6%.

Dark Chocolate!

Dark Chocolate
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Dark chocolate—defined as unsweetened chocolate containing 50 percent cocoa—was found to really beneficial on blood pressure, according to a Harvard study. This sweet, and somewhat bitter, treat contains flavonoids, which help dilate blood and improve blood pressure.

And the blood-pressure-lowering effect was shown to be even more significant among people with hypertension.

White Beans Are Full Of Potassium

White Beans Are Full Of Potassium
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White beans are among the many beans that contain a large amount of potassium—a very important nutrient when it comes to lowering high blood pressure. In addition, white beans are full of magnesium, another powerful protectant against blood pressure problems.

Not to mention, these beans are an excellent source of protein!

The Mighty Flax Seed

The Mighty Flax Seed
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Although flax seeds are tiny, they pack a huge punch when it comes to fighting off hypertension. Flaxseed is rich with a unique omega-3 fatty acid, known as alpha-linoleic acid.

Research has shown that eating more of this type of fatty acid can help lower blood pressure. Flaxseed can be enjoyed on top of many foods, like salads or avocados.

Strawberries Are Healthy And Delicious

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The tart sweetness of strawberries may seem sinful, but these red babies are brimming with health benefits, especially for those with high blood pressure. Strawberries have a lot of potassium, and that nutrient is essential to normalizing blood pressure in the body.

In addition, strawberries are loaded with antioxidants that help relax the blood vessels, making it an incredibly heart-healthy fruit.

Artichokes Act As Antioxidants

Artichokes Act As Antioxidants
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These prickly leaves can help you leave high blood pressure behind. Artichokes are high in potassium, which help the body balance out some of the effects of eating heart-unhealthy sodium.

As an added bonus, artichokes are also antioxidant champs that can help neutralize cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

Eat Your Brussels Sprouts

Eat Your Brussels Sprouts
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While Brussels sprouts may have a funky smell when they are cooked, they can be a great way to bring down high blood pressure. There is a ton of potassium in Brussels sprouts, which can help protect your help from high blood pressure.

In addition, this food is naturally low in sodium and fat, making them great snacking or side dish alternatives when following a heart-healthy diet.

Get More Oregano

Get More Oregano
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Trying out new spices can be a great way to enjoy food while using less salt —a heavy contributor to high blood pressure. Oregano is one herb, however, that can do a lot to help, as it contains carvacrol.

This nutritional component is associated with lowering high blood pressure.

Snack On Raisins

Snack On Raisins
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Raisins are a type of dehydrated fruit associated with positive effects on blood pressure. In addition to being loaded with potassium, raisins contain a dietary fiber known to help keep blood vessels healthy.

Raisins make great on-the-go snacks as well as excellent salad or parfait toppings.

Stock Your Pantry With These Heart-Healthy Superfoods

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, but it doesn’t have to be. Our diet directly impacts heart health, which means that making a few changes to what you eat can save your life. If you want to stabilize your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, or help clear your arteries, you’ll want to pick up these heart-healthy foods that are often overlooked.

Learn which common foods can help unclog your arteries and keep your heart healthy.

Chia Seeds Provide More Heart Health Than Fiber

Black and White Chia seeds sit in ying-yang shaped dishes
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Chia seeds have made their way into plenty of diet fads for their high fiber. However, chia seeds also offer unsaturated fatty acids, which the American Heart Association recommends to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Chia seeds have more calcium and magnesium than milk, which lowers blood sugar and blood pressure.

The Journal of Food Science and Technology reports that the alpha-linolenic acid in chia seeds blocks out sodium and calcium dysfunctions which cause hypertension. This acid, along with the seeds’ high omega-3’s, regulates heart rate. The review concludes that alpha-linolenic lowers a person’s risk of heart failure.

There’s good news for people with a sweet tooth.

Don’t Feel Guilty– Have A Heart-Healthy Dessert!

Handmade chopped dark chocolate with different superfood additives seeds and goji berries over beige background.
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Although chocolate has a bad reputation, research supports that dark chocolate and raw cocoa powder have several health benefits. A meta-analysis in the 2018 issue of Nutrients noted that seven different studies have reported that people who eat dark chocolate have a reduced risk of stroke.

Research has examined 14 cohort studies and 508,705 participants, and they all conclude that higher chocolate consumption results in reduced risk of diabetes, stroke, and cardiometabolic diseases. For the best effect, buy dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa, or purchase the raw cocoa powder to add to smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt.

Are you a fan of Mediterranean food? Well, you may want to eat more of it…

Drop the Ranch, Break Out The Hummus

Palestinian restaurant owner Yasser Taha displays a plate of hummus, a paste made from chickpeas, and a bowel of falafel which are made from mashed and fried chickpeas
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Chickpeas are a versatile legume that’s used in hummus. Both chickpeas and hummus were reviewed in 2016 Nutrients because of their high-density nutrients. Traditional hummus slows down carbohydrate absorption, which regulates blood sugar. In one study, those who ate chickpeas had 4x less glucose than people who ate white bread.

Research from 2006 indicates that those who consume chickpeas over 20 weeks experience significantly diminishes LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. This process equalizes blood pressure, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It Might Be Trendy, But Avocado Toast Is Good For The Heart

A spoon lies over a sliced avocado.
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Now, you have more reasons to keep up your avocado obsession. 2018 research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed how nutrients in the fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) aid the heart. People who eat avocado receive more HDL cholesterol, which hinders cardiovascular disease.

Unlike other foods on this list, avocado does not affect LDL cholesterol or triglycerides, unhealthy compounds that can damage the heart. But it does supply the heart with powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytosterols, and monounsaturated fats, or “healthy fats.” All these provide for a healthy heart, according to the Heart Foundation.

Coming up, find out which wine is the best for heart health

Go Ahead; Have Your Morning Cup Of Coffee

A coffee with foam in the shape of a heart
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Because high caffeine intake can stimulate stress and anxiety, many people assume that coffee harms the heart. But current research demonstrates the opposite. A 2014 systematic review of cohort studies concluded that moderate coffee consumption (3-5 cups a day) results in a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Recently, the British Heart Foundation analyzed over 8,000 participants and proposed that even 25 cups of coffee a day won’t stiffen arteries, as previously presumed. Coffee shrinks inflammation and stabilizes insulin production, which can decrease the likelihood of diabetes. These benefits can even lengthen life, according to researchers at the University of Southampton in 2018.

This next food is a great on-the-go snack.

Need A Snack? Pack Some Almonds

Almonds sold at shuk hacarmel market in Tel Aviv, Israel
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While all nuts can promote heart health, almonds have received particular attention in a 2018 Nutrients review. Through 18 controlled trials, researchers have demonstrated that eating almonds erases much of our LDL cholesterol, a well-known risk factor of heart disease.

The Indian Heart Association observes that almonds increase HDL cholesterol, which actually works against cardiovascular disease. One study found that people who have coronary artery disease benefited from higher HDL-C and lower LDL-C, and almonds support both.

There’s good news coming up for people who have a sweet tooth.

An Apple A Day… Do I Even Need To Say It?

Organic apples of the Topaz variety in crates at a stand during the organic trade fair Biofach
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Although plenty of people discuss the benefits of apples, few understand how they impact the heart. Authors in 2015 Nutrients explain that apple’s components, including healthy polyphenols, skip through the small intestine and enter the large intestine relatively intact. The large intestine breaks down these compounds into microbial’s that assist heart health.

Not only does this process contribute more fiber, but it also cleans out the gut and harmful bacteria, which can develop into diabetes and heart disease. Similar to red wine and cocoa, apples clear out perilous LDL cholesterol.

Grab Your Glass! Red Wine Is Healthy (In Moderation)

A woman tastes red wine during a wine tasting session at the Chateau La Dominique in Saint-Emilion
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In 2006, researchers from the Experimental & Clinical Cardiology journal studied the effects of wine and resveratrol on heart disease. Wine drinkers have higher lipoprotein (HDL) levels, which protect the heart and arteries.

Red wine also increases NO production. NO, or endothelial nitric oxide synthase, dwindles during the early stages of diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure. The polyphenols in red wine tell the body to produce more NO, which not only guards the heart but also increases oxygen production and metabolism.

Read on to find out the specific fish that doctors recommend for a healthy heart.

Garlic Repels More Than Just Vampires

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You’ve probably seen garlic mentioned in several other health articles. In 2014, researchers from the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine reviewed all studies on garlic health benefits. They concluded that eating garlic consistently lowers blood glucose level, which keeps the heart healthy.

According to several studies in the ’80s and ’90s, garlic also fights off bacteria and viruses, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and influenza A and B. Its ability to clear out toxicity even cleans out the liver (1993 study) and enhances antioxidant production (2012 study). Not that you needed an excuse to add more garlic to a meal.

Enjoy Cranberries Even When It’s Not Thanksgiving

Cranberries help in hands, picked from Massachusetts farm.
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This Thanksgiving favorite can be enjoyed all year round for improved heart health. In 2011, scientists from the Boston and Tufts Universities reported that drinking cranberry juice relieves arterial stiffness, specifically around the aorta, the body’s largest artery.

Cranberries enhance blood lipids, curtail LDL cholesterol, and increase helpful HDL cholesterol. One study in 2000 noted that this fruit shrinks blood pressure to the point of relieving hypertension. It also calms inflammation and oxidative stress. Researchers do not recommend using a powder, as the fruit loses 30-40% of nutrients that way, but do advocate for cranberry juice.

Dates Aren’t Just For Digestion

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Dates are best known for improving the digestive system, but they can also protect your heart. In 2009, Israeli researchers discovered that eating dates removes fat without influencing blood glucose levels. Unlike other dried fruits, you won’t get a blood sugar spike from eating dates daily.

A more recent study concluded that dates have special antioxidants which improve heart health. In the journal Food & Function, researchers explained that dates can reduce cholesterol buildup by 28%. They also lower oxidative stress by 33%. If you eat a few dates, you’ll nourish your gut and guard your heart.

What’s the deal with kale in new diet fads? Well… a lot, evidently.

Kale Helps Both Heart And Mind

Freshly cut kale is exhibited for sale by Thore Buchholz
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Kale has spiked in popularity for being a high-fiber hearty member of the cabbage family. A 2018 study in the journal Nutrients found that consuming 5-6 of leafy green vegetables such as kale abated the risk of cardiovascular disease.

That same year, another study in Neurology supports that kale intake prevents cognitive decline, especially in seniors. Even eating as little as 1.3 servings per day will keep your mind and memory sharp for five years, according to the study. One serving of kale is only one cup, but it can make a big difference.

This next one is a great source of antioxidants.

Combine Peanut Butter With Other Foods For Variety

peanut butter with olives
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Indulge in some peanut butter while protecting your heart? That sounds like a win-win. Although peanut butter might sound like a food that would be off the list, it’s different than some other high-fat foods that can lead to high cholesterol.

Peanut butter is high in protein, omega-3 fats, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, according to the American Heart Association. It can also be used in a variety of snacks, so mix it up with other heart-healthy foods as you please.

Prep Some Lentils, Lose Weight, And Help Your Heart

Cooked lentil soup in a bowl
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In 2017, the International Journal of Molecular Sciences published a study examining lentils’ effect on health. Of all legumes, lentils have the highest level of polyphenols, which are compounds that guard against harmful bacteria, fungi, inflammation, and viruses.

Because of their high protein, fiber, and flavonoid count, lentils make you feel fuller for longer. When you feel fuller, you eat less, which combats obesity. The polyphenols also stabilize blood pressure, which can avert hypertension and coronary artery diseases.

Turmeric’s Unique Compounds Prevent Heart Disease

Powdered turmeric in a heart-shaped bowl
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Turmeric is the bright yellow spice in curry powders. Its color comes from the polyphenol curcumin, and researchers have proposed that this compound inhibits heart disease. As an antioxidant, curcumin guards the heart against toxicities such as LDL cholesterol.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health conducted a study that observed patients of bypass surgery having fewer heart attacks after consuming turmeric. Although high doses can give people an upset stomach, this spice generally counters nausea and blocks potential heart complications.

If you can bring yourself to eat this next food, your heart could benefit from it!

Asparagus Is Tasty And Healthy

asparagus wrapped up
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Asparagus is packed full of folate, which helps to prevent the build-up of the amino acid homocysteine from building up in the body. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to an increase in potentially fatal heart conditions including coronary artery disease and stroke.

Luckily, asparagus works in just about any dish, as it can be eaten alone as a side if need be. Also, if you don’t like the taste, there are plenty of recipes that can make asparagus taste delicious.

Cook More Fish, Especially Sardines

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Even for fish lovers, sardines are an acquired taste. Although a 2013 review proclaims that any fish will lower the risk of cardiovascular disease due to their omega-3’s, sardines have received special attention. Research in 2016 informed that patients with type 2 diabetes who regularly ate sardines experienced more balanced blood sugar levels.

Sardines have one of the highest omega-3 counts of any fish, which assuages inflammation and wards off harmful triglycerides. Scientists believe that these factors can halt the risk of heart failure over time.

Spinach Keeps Your Heart In Rhythm

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In order to have a strong and healthily rhythmic heart, one of the most important things to consume is magnesium. Considering all of the other health benefits that spinach has, it’s no surprise that the leafy green is one of the best sources of dietary magnesium.

This keeps the heart healthy and regulated, so Popeye definitely got something right! You can also add spinach into almost every meal and even mask the taste of it if you really don’t like it. It’s an incredible vegetable.

Beets Will Help You Exercise Healthier

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In 2016, a study JACC: Heart Failure examined patients of heart failure and their reaction to beets. When your heart weakens, it can’t pump enough blood throughout the body, which makes it harder to exercise. Fortunately, beets are rich in nitrates, which improve blood flow.

After just one week of eating beetroots, the participants’ exercise endurance raised by 20%. Not only can beets improve blood flow to nourish the heart, but they can also assist in workouts, making your diet much more effective.

Oranges Provide Potassium That You Might Not Be Getting Otherwise

Oranges placed in the place of lungs in a drawing
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Oranges not only add a tasty addition to any lunch, but research supports their positive effects on the heart. The American Heart Association proposes that citrus fruits like oranges lower the risk of ischemic stroke by 19%.

Dr. Mark Houston, clinical professor at Vanderbilt Medical School, asserts that higher potassium intake diminishes the risk of heart disease by 49%. Unfortunately, fewer than 2% of Americans meet their daily potassium content. Oranges provide plenty of potassium, and 130% of your daily vitamin C needs– these nutrients lower blood pressure and combat skin damage such as wrinkles.

Walnuts Can Be Very Beneficial

walnut-turkish-delight
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Different kinds of nuts have different health properties, however, walnuts are great for your heart. Just eating a handful a day can help to protect against the inflammation of your hearts arteries and can even lower your cholesterol.

On top of that, walnuts also contain omega-3s, monounsaturated fats, plant sterols, and fiber. Walnuts can also be used to replace unhealthy fats such as those found in a lot of junk food. Keep in mind there are more ways to eat walnuts than just in their original form! Walnut Turkish Delights are a delicious way to work walnuts into your diet.

The More Carrots You Chomp, The Better Your Heart

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These fun orange snack foods can protect the cardiovascular system if you don’t dip them in too much ranch. A 2011 study in Nutrients emphasized that drinking carrot juice optimizies the body’s antioxidant levels and decreases lipid peroxidation, a process that harms cells.

Earlier research from 2008 suggests that the more carrots you eat, the less likely you’ll encounter a heart attack. If you don’t want carrots everyday, you can substitute carrots with other yellow-orange foods such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes, which also support the heart.

 

 

Source: healthygem.com

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