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Long-term research shows that 26 percent of men and 28 percent of women with high blood pressure or hypertension suffer from their conditions as a result of being overweight or obese. Those who have high amounts of fatty tissue in their bodies suffer from high blood pressure because their hearts are forced to work harder to pump blood all throughout the body. High blood pressure can lead to problems with diabetes and heart disease — both of which can be fatal when hypertension is left ignored, or untreated.
Weight-loss surgery or weight loss through conventional methods of diet and exercise are often the best ways to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk for serious health problems. Foods that contain high amounts of sodium and fat are the most dangerous contributors to high blood pressure.
If you’re intent on managing or lowering your blood pressure levels, steer clear of these 10 foods found in most grocery stores that could potentially worsen your blood pressure and overall health.
If bacon is part of your normal breakfast routine, consider choosing “low-sodium” bacon or switch to turkey bacon. Bacon is comprised mostly of fat, and contains about 270 mg of sodium and 4.5 grams of fat in every three slices. Limit yourself to bacon once every month or every few months. Bacon should be considered a special treat and only consumed once in awhile, instead of on a daily or weekly basis.
Although pickles are essentially cucumbers, most pickles at your local grocery store are high in sodium and other additives that contribute to high blood pressure. Just one medium-sized pickle contains approximately 570 mg of sodium, which is over one-third of your daily sodium limit.
3. Whole milk
While low-fat dairy can serve as a great source of calcium in your diet, certain dairy products such as whole milk will provide your body with more fat than it needs. Swap out whole milk for healthier alternatives of almond or coconut milk, or switch to 1 percent or skim milk if you’re insistent on drinking cow’s milk.
4. Canned soups
Chicken noodle soup may be considered comfort food for most Americans, but in truth, most canned soups contain excessive amounts of sodium and additives. Most one-cup servings of soup contain an alarming 880 mg of sodium. Instead of buying canned soups, make a large pot of soup at home, then either eat from it all week long or store it in individual containers in the freezer so you can grab and go at any time.
5. Chicken and turkey pot pies
Frozen pot pies may seem like a healthy, filling food choice considering it contains lean protein and vegetables, but in reality, one small pot pie contains between 1,300 and 1,400 mg of sodium, as well as 35 grams of fat. Also, keep in mind that the gravy in pot pies is loaded with trans fat, which will go straight to your waistline.
6. Red meat
While hamburgers and steak may sound appealing on a regular basis, red meats — especially from fast-food restaurants — are often prepared in hydrogenated oils and are chock-full of saturated and trans fats. If possible, try to eliminate red meat from your diet completely, and focus instead on supplementing your diet with turkey, chicken, and fish.
7. Ramen noodles
Ramen noodles are a popular quick-meal choice, but contrary to what you may think about noodles being healthy, one package of Ramen noodles contains 1,580 mg of sodium and 14 grams of fat. If you insist on eating Ramen noodles, throw away the flavor packet and just eat the noodles plain. The majority of sodium and additives resides in the flavor packet — and not actually the noodles themselves.
Tubs of margarine spread may have been a favorite staple in your family for years, but margarine is loaded with trans fats and other additives that are not good for either your blood pressure or weight. Make an effort to replace margarine with olive oil indefinitely, and if that move is too extreme for you at first, switch to using butter that lacks salt.
Sugar may seem like a no-brainer to avoid when you’re focusing on losing weight and lowering your blood pressure, but many unsuspecting processed foods will sneak sugar in as an additive for flavoring. First, stop adding sugar to coffee and tea and avoid sprinkling it on fruits and other dessert items. Next, read all ingredient labels of the processed foods you buy to make sure they don’t contain sugar.
Not only is alcohol full of sugar and other additives that contribute to weight gain and high blood pressure, but alcohol damages the walls of blood vessels — increasing your risk for heart disease and other serious health complications. Start severely limiting your alcohol intake, or stop drinking alcohol completely to reduce hypertension.