40 Foods to Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure

As most health gurus will testify, we really are what we eat. So, if you’re looking to avoid the risk of high blood pressure, then maintaining a healthy diet is key. Health is all about balance, so everyone is allowed the occasional treat. There are some undeniable truths about nutrition that we all should know. Evidently, some foods are more nutritious for our bodies than others.

You may find as you grow older, that your blood pressure fluctuates. No worry’s though, that’s normal! Still, you should still be more conscious of what you eat thus ensuring a lower heart rate. So, if you want to avoid hypertension or high blood pressure, and boost your heart health, then you can try to exercise regularly, and avoid the temptation of foods high in sugar or salt.

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While some of the high-calorie foods on this list are dripping in sugar, others are concealing sugar in unlikely places. These salty recipes just may surprise you. So, check out our list of foods you might want to steer clear from. That is if you want to maintain a happy, and healthy body?

We start our list with Sodium-Filled Canned Beans. Although beans may sound nutritious, and taste delicious in both hot or cold dishes, canned beans are actually one of the sodium-filled foods you should shun. Tasty beaned snacks are surprisingly packed with preservatives and sodium.

You can try your best to rinse the sodium and preservatives off before use, but it’s better to replace canned beans with regular beans as much as possible for better quality, and even better flavor.

Salty Cheese

Do you prefer creamy brie or melted mozzarella? most people will agree that cheese is tasty, as it adds a delicious twist to most meals. The only catch here is that this ingredient for most of our everyday meals is packed with salt.

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If you prefer American cheese, you might be surprised to learn that it contains 2.2 mg of sodium per gram. Gouda cheese contains up to 3.7 mg of sodium per gram, and Cheddar cheese has around 2.2 mg of sodium per gram. So, it’s probably better to avoid cheese altogether or save that slice of cheese for a special day.

Sugary Sweet Candy

Although candy may seem harmless, and everyone deserves a sweet treat every once in a while, it is also obviously jam-packed with sugar, so too many candy delights can be a major cause of high blood pressure.

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Each candy treat is filled with a host of sugary ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup. So, if you consume too many candies, it could lead to weight gain, kidney disease, diabetes, and eventually high blood pressure. So, it’s better to replace candy with other naturally sweet snacks like fruit.

Addictive Soft Drinks

Just like candy, soft drinks will also give you a sugar high like no other. That’s because soft drinks are packed with sugar-rushing ingredients.  This, in turn, makes them highly addictive.

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While flavored drinks can taste delicious and leave you yearning for more, too much sugar can also cause your blood pressure to spike to high. So, if you want to stay on the safe side, then the American Heart Association recommends that you consume 355ml or less per week.

Caffeine Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are designed to give you short, sharp bursts of energy and are a favorite with tired people. Energy drinks are filled with a heavy dose of caffeine and sugar, which can cause an intense energy surge, inherently meaning they are not so good for your blood pressure as well.

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The sugar content in these drinks helps activate the caffeine content and makes the energy effect last for up to six hours! So while energy drinks may be a quick energy booster, they can also increase your blood pressure. So next time, it’s better to find a more natural energy source.

Flavored Sauces

As the perfect way to spice up any meal, it’s very tempting to add a tangy sauce to every dish. However, most sauces contain high levels of sodium, which can eventually lead to higher blood pressure.

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Some of the unhealthier sauces include mayonnaise, cheese sauce, salad dressings, or even gravy. Some other sauces to avoid include hot sauce, which has 26.4 mg of sodium mg per 1 gram, and oyster sauce which contains 27.3 mg per 1 gram. Mustard contains 24 mg of sodium per 1 gram. So, stay away from mustard as well!

Hot Pot Pies

Pot pies may look delectable straight from the oven, and you may think that the meaty or vegetable fillings are nutritious. However, each serving is actually steaming with sodium.

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A typical serving of a steaming hot chicken pot pie can contain up to 3.9 mg of sodium per 1 gram. So, if you’re trying to maintain healthy blood pressure, you might want to avoid this heavy salt pie.

Cheese Pizza

Pizza is addictive, and so much fun too! With pizza, you have all the fun things you love in food packed into one slice. If you are like me you can finish a whole pie alone, but even just a slice is jam-packed with high sodium, fat, and calorie count!

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So, if you’re attempting to reduce blood pressure, you may want to use your willpower to avoid too many takeaway pizzas. The good news is that there are plenty of healthy alternatives you can experiment with, like whole-wheat pita pizza, or eggplant based pizzas with low-fat cheese.

Avoid Red Meat

While some may argue that red meat is a great source of protein and other nutritious properties. Protein is also oozing with saturated fat, and if you haven’t heard yet, saturated fat is your first stop to a clogged artery.

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There are some other alternatives to meat that provide a leaner source of protein such as poultry or fish. If you still crave the taste of red meat though, it’s recommended that you eat it (at most) once a week.

Processed Meat

Processed meats are one of the most delicious human creations in the world, juicy, salty, and full of flavor. However, they do not match they’re taste quality’s with their health quality.

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Processed meats generally include anything that really doesn’t look like the original cut, like salamis, hot dogs, smoked meats, and sausages. These meals are usually dripping in preservatives to help them last longer, but they’re not so beneficial for long-lasting health.

Asian Ramen Noodles

For a quick and easy dinner, ramen noodles are a sure-fire choice. A small packet of ramen noodles can be very cheap to buy and take minutes to boil. Then all you have to do is add the sauce. However, this packet of ramen noodles alone can contain up to 1,576.8 mg of sodium per package.

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It’s surprising to think that a small packet of noodles can actually provide the maximum amount of recommended sodium intake for a day. So you may want to search for some other noodle alternatives, but remember to check the packet!

Hard Liquor & Wine

While some doctors argue that the occasional glass of red wine may be heart-healthy, most alcoholic drinks are bursting with sugar. So alcohol can, in turn, be another source of high blood pressure.

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Since alcohol contains high sugar content, when too much of it is consumed, it causes the tightening of blood vessels. In turn, this can leads to higher blood pressure and even weight gain. So one glass of wine a day, maybe not so okay!

Crispy Bacon

While some people treat themselves to a few slices of crispy bacon with their fried breakfast on a Sunday morning, this treat is not so nutritious for your heart. Bacon is full of fat, I mean it basically is fat with a small amount of meat, usually, the bacon you buy at the store is half-smoked,  and chock full of injected sodium components to pack it with more flavor.

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According to research from the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, if you treat yourself to three slices of bacon, you’ll consume 267.5 mg of sodium. So if you don’t want your blood pressure to soar, it’s advisable to steer clear of bacon as much as possible.

Jars of Pickle

If you love pickles, then you’ll usually buy them in a jar from the market. Pickles are surrounded by pickle juice, which can help preserve them longer. However, this juice is essentially sodium juice.

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Since pickles are already coated with salt and preservatives and drowning in pickle juice, each one can contain up to 24.3 mg of sodium per pickle. It’s better to avoid these if you want to maintain your blood pressure.

Peanut Butter Spread

Some nutritionists do recommend that eating a small serving of peanut butter can be a healthy snack. However, this nutty butter is also packed with saturated fats, which is not so healthy for your arteries.

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If you consume a large amount of peanut butter, then the saturated fats can eventually cause your arteries to clog. This means that your heart will have to work much hard to help circulate your blood through your body.

Too Much Caffeine

For most people, coffee provides the go-to fuel you need for the morning and a caffeine kick to help you power you through your day. However, coffee also provides a big boost to your blood pressure.

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If you already have high blood pressure, then consuming too much coffee will not be so good for your heart health, so it’s recommended that you try to avoid drinking coffee as much as you can.

Packaged Soups

When it’s cold outside, and you got a case of the sniffles,  you may crave a hot bowl of soup. Most people naturally stock their cupboards with canned, powdered, or pre-made soups to be saved for a rainy day. However, these soups are actually crammed with sodium.

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Pre-made soups are packed with preservatives and sodium to help them last longer on the shelf. So if you reach for a can of soup, it can contain up to 867.3 mg of sodium per cup.

Deep-Fried Foods

Some may argue that nothing can beat the taste of deep-fried doughnuts or crispy fries, most will agree that deep-frying is not the healthiest way to eat your food.

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Since fried foods are often packed with sodium and trans fats, consuming too much of them can understandably lead to a spike in your blood pressure. So if you’re trying to kick-start a healthy diet, you may want to avoid those deep-fried doughnuts.

Too Many Chinese Take-Outs

It can be tempting to order Chinese take-out, but these meals are also doused in sodium, so they may not be so nutritious for your blood pressure or heart health.

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You might be surprised to learn that a serving of chicken with black bean sauce contains a staggering 988 mg of sodium per box A classic serving of noodles can also contain up to 528 mg of sodium per cup. So you might want to search for a healthier dinner option.

Salty Popcorn

Going to see your favorite movie in the cinema and treating yourself to popcorn, really do go hand in hand. While some plain popcorn can be harmless enough, the popcorn you’ll find at the movies is usually dripping in butter and salt.

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Even if you buy some microwavable popcorn at home, then you may be stunned to discover that the snack is packed with around 97.2 mg of sodium per cup.

Whole Fat Milk

While some people prefer the taste of whole fat milk in their tea, others use it to help cook creamy sauces or cookies. The whole fat variety might be richer and creamier, but this is because it contains a massive amount of saturated fats.

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If you consume too many saturated fats in your diet, increases the level of bad cholesterol in your blood. It can also clog your arteries, and cause your blood pressure to rocket. Still, if you don’t want to give up milk completely, you can still opt for the low-fat variety.

Too Many French Fries

If you look at most restaurant menus, you’ll find that most dishes come with a tempting side of fries. However, as most French fries are deep-fried in oil multiple times, it means that they usually aren’t the healthiest dish on the menu.

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According to research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, too many servings of oily French fries can eventually cause your blood pressure to soar.

Pickled Sauerkraut

Across the US, many restaurants will serve sauerkraut with their dishes. This is a type of pickled vegetable that is often served in salads or as aside. While people usually associate vegetables with nutrition, this vegetable is actually swimming in sodium.

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In fact, one tiny serving of pickled sauerkraut can contain up to 938.6 mg of sodium per cup. If you ate this small portion with your meal, then you would have already eaten a third of your daily sodium intake allowance. So this might be one to avoid next time.

Pretzel Chips

If you had to rate chips, then you may think that pretzels look a little healthier and more wholesome than Doritos or Cheetos. However, pretzels are still made with white flour, so they are a high carb snack that quickly turns into sugar in your body.

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You might not realize that pretzels are also deep-fried in oil before they are served, so are filled with trans fats. Then they are sprinkled with salt. So just one pretzel treat can contain up to 337.9 mg of sodium per 1 pretzel.

Baked Bread

There really is nothing that can beat the taste of freshly baked white bread, straight from the oven. While white bread can really add something special to any meal, it is actually filled with all sorts of processed ingredients that can help cause high blood pressure.

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If you love white bread, you should be aware that it contains sugar, saturated fat, salt, and white flour, which are all destined to eventually cause high blood pressure. Just the white flour alone contains a high glycemic index, which means it can turn into glucose. Still, you can always opt for a whole-wheat alternative.

Sweet Pastries

If you’re like me, then you’re always tempted by pastries, cookies, and cakes, then you might want to curb that habit from now on. That’s because these sugary treats are a major cause of high blood pressure.

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While it might tempting to enjoy the occasional puff pastry every once in a while, then you might want to know that each pastry can contain up to 296.1 mg of sodium per 1 pastry. So it’s probably a good idea to replace these with some healthier snack treats instead.

Refined White Sugar

Another major reason for a spike in blood pressure is refined white sugar. So if you’re addicted to sweetening your tea or coffee with multiple servings of white sugar, then you might want to cut this down in the future.

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Refined sugar is often added to processed meals or ready-made foods as well, so you might want to check the packets a little closer. Still, it’s ok to eat sugar every so often, just excessive consumption can lead to hypertension and higher blood pressure in the future.

Avoid Chicken Skin

Most people have a favorite part of a cooked chicken. Some prefer legs, others prefer thighs and a few prefer chicken breasts. For a few people though, the best part of a cooked chicken is the crispy golden brown skin. However, if you already have a higher blood pressure than normal, you might want to avoid this.

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While the aromatic smell and crispy taste of the chicken skin may be great, the skin often contains more saturated fat. It also absorbs most of the sodium while cooking, so it’s probably a better idea to cut this away next time.

Sweet Doughnuts

Doughnuts are some of the tastiest treats you can find and are often decorated with a rich variety of colorful icing, sprinkles, and sugar. However, if you already suffer from high blood pressure, then this might be one treat to say goodbye to.

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You may not realize it, but each doughnut can contain up to 168.9 calories a pop. The carbohydrate treats also contain white flour that is converted into sugar and trans fats, which can clog your arteries. So you may want to search for another treat in the future.

Sodium

As you may have guessed, one of the ideal ways to help maintain low blood pressure is to be conscious of how much sodium or salt you consume. The tricky thing is, sodium is everywhere you turn. Often, it’s concealed in meals we didn’t think possible, and many seem healthy on the label.

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According to research from the American Heart Association, we typically consume 77% of sodium from packaged, ready-made, or restaurant food, and this is before we even shake the salt shaker. If you have excess sodium in your body, water is pulled into the blood vessels, which causes your blood pressure to increase. So you might want to read food labels from now on.

Deli Meat

While deli meats may make a mean sandwich filler at lunchtime, these processed meats are also another ticking sodium bomb. Essentially, processed deli meats are often cured, and seasoned with salt and preservatives.

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Before you even add the bread, pickles or cheese, processed meats can contain up to 775 mg of sodium per 100 grams. So if you want to maintain a healthy ticker it’s better to avoid deli meat. If you’re still craving a meaty sandwich filler, it’s probably more nutritious to buy some fresh chicken from the counter.

Canned Tomato Products

Another sodium trap on the list is canned tomato products. Essentially, tomato products pose a problem for people with high blood pressure, as most of the canned pasta sauces, tomato juices, and tomato sauces are saturated in sodium.

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Astonishingly, just one cup of tomato juice can contain over 672 mg of sodium, and a 1/2-cup serving of classic marinara sauce is packed with over 400 mg of sodium. So if you want to stay on the side of caution, it’s better to cook with fresh tomatoes.

Sugar

Mary Poppins told us that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” However, it’s not always the best way to maintain a healthy heart. Evidently, excess sugar in your diet might just give you a first-class ticket to weight gain, obesity, and high blood pressure.

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Sugar can be found in most sweetened drinks, sugary treats, and pre-packaged meals. So you should start to take note of the sodium count on the labels from now on. According to the American Heart Association, men should consume 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams, per day and women, should consume themselves to 6 teaspoons, or 24 grams, per day.

Cured Hams

As a rule of thumb, it’s probably more beneficial for your heart health and blood pressure, to buy fresher meat. That’s because cured hams are often coated in sodium and seasoned with preservatives.

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Although you can still treat yourself to the occasional ham slice, It’s probably better to choose fresher cuts of pork, rather than processed meats like bacon or ham. This is because they are higher in sodium than real meat.

Sandwiches

If you’re looking to boost your heart health, and curb any weight gain, then take your daily sandwich out of the equation. Sandwiches are another sodium trap that will increase depending on the type of bread you choose and the tasty fillings and sauces you add.

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To break it down, whether you choose a bagel, pita, slice, roll, or wrap, you will not be able to avoid the 284.mg of sodium to your diet. This is even before you add cheese, peanut butter, or mayonnaise.

Butter, Lard, and cream

Butter, lard, and cream are a flavorsome addition to most dishes. Still, as you might have guessed, these creamy full-fat dairy food items and animal products are dripping in saturated fats.

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You can replace these saturated fats with healthier alternatives which are higher in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. Some of the healthier choices include rapeseed, olive, sunflower, or corn oil.

Ice Cream

Whether your favorite flavor is vanilla, chocolate, cookie dough, or strawberry, most will agree that ice cream is a delicious frozen dessert. However, the reason ice cream is so tasty and addictive is that it’s soaked in sugar, and packed with calories and fat.

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Although everyone can have a sugary treat every so often, just one up of ice cream contains 105.6 mg sodium per cup. If you have a diet that’s too rich in sugar, it can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and eventually weight gain.

Protein Bars

Some nutritionists believe protein bars offer a fast and easy ticket to help increase your protein intake, muscle mass, and keep fat away. Still, they are packed with a high dose of daily ingredients, including 190.4 mg of sodium per bar.

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There is actually a great debate about how healthy protein bars actually are, as some can contain as much sugar as a Mars bar, so could lead to higher blood pressure. So if you’re going to add protein bars into your daily diet, it’s recommended that you only consume one a day, and make sure you fit some exercise in too.

Chocolate

Chocolate is another rich sugary treat, which is the source of great debate among nutritionists. Since chocolate contains caffeine and is crammed with calories and sugar, eating too much of it can lead to weight gain and higher blood pressure.

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However, if you really can’t kick your chocolate addiction, then some experts do recommend dark chocolate, as it contains cocoa and heart-healthy flavonoids, which can help lower your blood pressure. So you might be happy to discover that can still enjoy a cube of dark chocolate every once in a while.

Fatty Beef

There might be nothing better than tucking into a slow-cooked roasted beef, with all the fat and trimmings, for an indulgent Sunday lunch. However, you might want to save this delectable meal for just an occasional meaty treat.

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As with most red meat, beef is dripping in saturated fat, which in turn will raise your level of LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. So if you want to avoid the risk of heart disease, then you should choose some leaner meat, like chicken or fish next Sunday.

Trans Fats

If you love eating processed food, they are often cooked in trans fats. Trans fats are also known as hydrogenated or vegetable oil and can be found naturally lurking in natural food products like chicken skin, red meats, and dairy products. These fatty oils are also artificially added to many packaged and processed foods.

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Many restaurants love cooking with this fatty oil as it has a desirable taste and smooth texture. However, as with most tasty, oily food, eating too much will increase your levels of LDL cholesterol. This is the bad kind of cholesterol, so it’s better to steer clear as much as you can.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is rich in nutrients and has untold health benefits for your skin, hair, teeth, face, and more. However, cooking with coconut oil is a whole other story. While it is considered healthier than some of the other oils, coconut oil is still drenched with saturated fat.

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Interestingly, while coconut oil may have the bad kind of LDL cholesterol, it also contains the good kind of HDL cholesterol, which can help balance it all out and give your heart a boost. Still, to be on the safe side, it’s better to stay on the side of caution and cook with it in moderation.

Lamb

Unlike other red meats on our list, lamb is usually served unprocessed and is instead cured, smoked, or salted. Lamb is a healthy source of protein and might look richer on the plate and taste more delicious than any old chicken dish.

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However, lamb is still considered a member of the red meat family. So as with most of the fun and tasty red meats, lamb is higher in fat and another cholesterol trap. So it’s still a good idea to eat it in moderation.

Saturated Fats

Although there are some ‘good types’ of saturated fats, which are naturally hiding in healthier foods like avocados and oily fish, we’re here to focus on the bad kind. Chemically speaking, these bad saturated fats are usually concealed naturally in animal-based foods, like butter, lard, cheese, cream, and red meat.

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In addition, many restaurants bake, cook, and fry food in plant-based oils, which are all another cholesterol trap. So it’s a better idea to get in the habit of checking the labels for saturated fat content and limiting these foods to treats. There are also healthy alternatives, like low-fat dairy products and poultry.

Whole Fat Dairy Products

While dairy products can a good source of calcium and heart-healthy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to match, it depends if you choose the whole fat kind or reduced-fat. If you love the taste and texture of whole fat milk, cheese, or yogurt, then we can totally understand.

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However, whole-fat dairy products are still oozing in saturated fats. As you can guess by now, if your diet is too rich in saturated fat, then it can increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. So the Heart Foundation recommends that if you can’t stop your dairy addiction, choose the lower fat kind.

Cookies

You don’t have to be a cookie monster to know that cookies are one of the best-baked treats around. Cookies make a delicious birthday treat and they can be baked with an endless variety of tasty mixtures, toppings, and flavors.

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However, we hate to break it to you, but the reason the cookie dough tastes so delicious is that each one is crammed with sugar. So if you reach for too many cookie treats, it can increase your cholesterol and eventually lead to obesity and heart disease.

Cold Cuts

If you’re looking for a quick and easy sandwich filler, then cold cuts or deli meat are a popular choice. So whether you prefer cold turkey, chicken, or beef cuts, these processed meats are usually cheaper and easier to find in the supermarket or deli.

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However, these are no ordinary meats, these are still processed meats. That means they are coated in preservatives like salt and high in saturated fats. In fact, one ounce of processed deli turkey is packed with over 120 mg of sodium per slice, so it’s better to reach for a healthier meaty alternative.

Cream Cheese

Another artery-clogging culprit on our list is full-fat cream cheese. As with most whole fat cheese and dairy products, regular cream cheese is saturated with fat. This means just a moderate serving is another cholesterol-ridden ingredient for your daily diet.

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If you’re still craving soft cheese, then there are other healthier alternatives, like lighter cream cheese, whipped or fat-free cheese. You should still be conscious of how much cheese you eat a week, but you can add these low-fat varieties to pizza, low-fat cheesecake and more.

Baked Goods with Shortening

Technically speaking, shortening applies to all solid fats, like lard and is made from hydrogenated vegetable oil. While this might sound like a recipe for heart disease, many love cooking and baking with shortening instead of other oils or butter as it has a high melting point, great texture and can make cakes taste ‘as light as air’.

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Still, as you might have guessed, shortening is filled with trans fat content. So shortening is another ingredient that can help increase your cholesterol rate, blood pressure, and heart disease risk.

Packaged Frosting

As you take a big delectable bite of your frosted birthday cake, one of the reasons the layers taste so delicious is because it’s been made with can or box of frosting. For many bakers, it’s quicker, cheaper and easier to reach for a can frosting, than to make it from scratch.

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However, surprisingly, packaged frosting is packed with chemicals, dyes, sugar, sodium, and preservatives. A typical can of rich and creamy vanilla frosting can contain corn syrup as a sweetener and plenty of trans fats. This unhealthy concoction of chemicals can also help lead to high blood pressure.

Buttered Popcorn

Popcorn and movies go together hand in hand. It almost seems wrong to watch a movie without a tub of popcorn. Still, while plain popcorn can provide a healthy source of fiber and antioxidants, and be low in calories and fat, most of the microwavable popcorn brands are dripping in butter and sodium.

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So if you buy buttered popcorn, it can be a nutritional nightmare. The popcorn is usually cooked in oil, oozing with salt and drenched in butter. That’s before you even think about adding extra salt or butter to taste. As you can imagine, too much butter in your diet is butter, this is another ticking time-bomb for your blood pressure and heart health.

Sausages

While sausages may taste juicy and delicious, and they go perfectly with a fried breakfast or inside a hot dog, this meaty treat is still another processed offender on our list. Sausages are usually dripping in fat and sodium.

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Since sausages are a cured meat, this means they are usually seasoned with preservatives and salt. This is even before they are even cooked in unhealthy oil, and eaten with other fried treats for breakfast. So studies show that eating too many sausages can be bad for your cholesterol and heart health.

Saturated Vegetable Oils

While certain oils like palm oil, kernel oil, and coconut oil may sound tropical, they also have a bad reputation when it comes to cooking. That’s because if you cook with these vegetable oils, they are drenched with saturated fats.

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As you might expect, too much-saturated fats in your diet is a big no-no for your heart health. This is because saturated fat will boost the bad kind of LDL cholesterol. It can also boost your levels of triglycerides, which can be another cause of heart disease.

Fast Food

If you’re tired and hungry after a long day, then we’re sure that the temptation to grab some fast food is real. After all, fast food will be faster and is easier to find. It’s much quicker to order a pizza, hamburger or Chinese food than to buy all the healthy ingredients and cook a full meal for yourself.

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However, the fast-food you’ll find in restaurants is not often cooked with healthy nutritious ingredients. Most of the meals you’ll find are seasoned with sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and are a recipe for high cholesterol. So fast food should be an occasional treat.

Hot Dogs

If you head to a BBQ cookout in the summertime, it might be rude not to eat every meaty variety that’s been charred on the grill. One of the most flavorful meats is on the menu is hot dogs. Now we know might seem harmless as they are small cuts of meat in a bun.

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Still, hot dogs are made with processed red meat. This means they are packed with sodium and fat. That’s before you even think of the processed white grain bun. So it’s better to limit these flavored franks to the occasional BBQ meal.

Eggs

Whether you prefer your eggs fried, poached, or scrambled, the yolky treats can make a mean breakfast dish. The good thing about eggs is you can literally eat them any time of day, and they are packed with Omega 3, protein, vitamins, and minerals, which is good for nutrition.

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So while many fitness gurus recommend eggs to help with gym training, there’s also great debate over how healthy eggs are for you. That’s because the flip side is that eggs are another source of high cholesterol. So while eggs might be healthy for you, it’s better to eat them in moderation.

Hamburgers

Hamburgers can taste delicious and many restaurants pride themselves on selling the best burgers in town. Over the years, many burger chefs have dedicated time and effort to create the most flavored, artful burgers, with the best toppings and the best bun to meat ratio.

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While just a few years ago, it was pretty normal to eat hamburgers and fast food joints for lunch or dinner, now burgers are seen by many health-conscious fans as an occasional treat. That’s because these burgers are high in calories, saturated in fats, and drenched in sodium, and that’s before you even add the bun.

White Pasta

When in Rome, it’s tempting to try the local Italian delicacies. So white pasta is usually one of the most popular dishes on the Italian restaurant menu. Pasta is a versatile grain, which comes in a whole host of tasty varieties, from spaghetti or cannelloni to penne and lasagna.

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The best part about white pasta is that it’s usually served piping hot on the plate, dripping in a tasty cheesy or tomato sauce. However, white pasta is still a refined carb, so will be converted to sugar in your blood. So too many pasta dishes can lead to high blood pressure or heart disease. You can switch for whole grain pasta, as a healthier alternative.

Mexican Dishes

Mexican food is always bursting with tangy flavor. Whether you choose cheesy nachos, a tortilla wrap, taquitos, fajitas or burritos, you’re almost guaranteed to not be disappointed. Still, while traditional Mexican dishes often contain nutritious beans, salsa, vegetables, and chicken, each dish is usually deep-fried and drowned with unhealthy toppings.

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So if you head to a Mexican restaurant, you might want to avoid eating too many fried tortilla chips, fried dishes and dips like sour cream and cheese. After one sitting, you could be faced with a high dose of trans fats, sodium, carbs, and sugar. The best advice is to choose the healthier dishes the menu or make a healthier version of Mexican food at home.

Desserts

Everyone deserves a dessert treat every so often. Some people even prefer dessert that the meal. However, most creamy or sweet desserts you’ll find in restaurants, from cakes and cookies to ice cream or muffins, are packed with saturated fats, sugar, and calories.

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So if you eat too many desserts, this means you’ll consume too many saturated fats in your diet. This is a fast and easy ticket to bad cholesterol, artery-clogging, and rocketing blood pressure. So it’s best to keep the sweets to just treats.

Wine

If you love nothing more than relaxing after a long day with a refreshing glass of wine, then we totally feel you. Some studies have also shown that drinking the occasional glass of red wine, contains anti-oxidants and does have some heart-healthy benefits and can improve your cholesterol.

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Still, while this might be true for the occasional glass of wine, other studies have shown that if you drink wine too often, then it’s not so healthy for your blood pressure or heart. So the key is to try to resist the temptation drink every so often.

Bagels

In most brunch restaurants, you’ll find bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon on the menu. And we can tell you that this is a mouthwatering combination of flavors and textures. Still, while bagels are not particularly bad for you, they’re not so healthy either.

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That’s because most bagels are made from white grain and lack fiber, vitamins, and minerals. So this means when you digest these unrefined carbohydrates, it quickly turns into sugar, and then it’s not so healthy for your cholesterol or blood pressure. However, you can choose high-fiber bagels and low fat spreads as a more heart-healthy alternative.

Shrimps

If you love when your Australian friend cooks some shrimps on the Barbie, then they are a tasty seafood treat. In fact, shrimps are often hailed by experts as a good source of nutrition, as they are low in calorie snack with high levels of iodine.

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However, other experts are quick to note that shrimps are a source of high cholesterol, as a 3-ounce serving can contain a staggering 27.8 mg of sodium per shrimp. So if you eat too many shrimps at the next Barbie, then you might be risking your heart health.

Refined Grains

Generally speaking, if you see that a food is made with a refined grain, this means that it contains no dietary fiber. This means that all the wholesomeness has been removed and you’re left with high carb and high-calorie starch that will be converted into sugar when eaten.

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So if you choose cereal, bread, cakes, rice, or pasta that has been made with refined grains, it’s not the best idea for your heart health. If you can’t curb your carb cravings, you should make an effort to eat whole grain pasta, bread, and cereal as it is better for your blood pressure and more heart-healthy.

Pork

Pork is one of the most popular meat delicacies in America and it seems to have a cult food following. While this meaty dish may make a mean roast dinner or taste delicious cooked in a Chinese sauce, pork is still another red meat to be wary of.

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Just like other red meats in the carnivorous family, pork is drenched in bad saturated and trans fat content. So too many pork dinners can help raise your blood cholesterol and not be so good for your heart health.

Crackers

While crackers may seem like a harmless and healthy low-calorie snack, and one of the crunchiest treats to eat with a dip, you still have to choose your crackers wisely. That’s because some crackers are healthier than others.

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Some brands like buttery Ritz crackers seem low calorie, but don’t provide much nutrition or fiber, and are crammed with trans fats. So too many crackers can lead to high blood pressure or heart risks. You can substitute these for wholegrain crackers with nuts and seeds.

Liver

For some people, liver is seen as a rich meaty delicacy. While it has a unique and rich flavor, it is also nutritious, and high in vitamins, and minerals like iron, copper, and zinc. However, as with most delicious food, there’s always a catch.

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While the liver is lean meat that is low in saturated fat, it’s a good idea to eat it occasionally. That’s because it’s rich in cholesterol, which as you might have guessed is not so good for your blood pressure.

Shellfish

If you love the delicate and unique taste of shellfish, then there’s plenty of these ocean treats to choose from. From lobster or shrimp to clams, crayfish or scallops. While each variety might have a distinct flavor, texture, and taste, they also contain small amounts of omega 3.

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Still, while shellfish can be healthy, it also tends to be higher in cholesterol. So if you’re looking for to help lower your cholesterol, then you should try to eat shellfish as an occasional delicacy.

Mac and Cheese

Across many states of America, mac and cheese are considered the one the most popular national dishes. Mac and cheese has become a tradition, and many love the warm comforting flavor as the loaded cheese melts onto the pasta with every bite.

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While some have said that the dish is healthy as it contains protein, it is made with white grain pasta and is topped with lashings of cheese. So this dish might be filled with saturated fats, unrefined carbs, and cholesterol, so it’s not so healthy to eat it every day if you’re looking to maintain your blood pressure and heart health.

Berries

Okay, so we’ve seen quite a lot of foods that should be avoided. It seems like all the good stuff is actually the bad stuff, right? But that’s not necessarily true!

There are actually lots of foods that you can, and should, eat if you have high blood pressure. Now we’re going to look at foods to eat if you want to lower your blood pressure.

Blueberries and strawberries are full of antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, which is a type of flavonoid. A large study was conducted with more than 34,000 people with hypertension.

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Researchers found that those with the highest intake of anthocyanins, mostly from blueberries and strawberries, had an 8% reduction in the risk of high blood pressure, compared to the people with a low anthocyanin intake. You can have berries as a snack on their own or add them to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.

Bananas

Bananas are great for lowering blood pressure because they contain plenty of potassium, which is a mineral that plays a huge role in managing hypertension. According to the American Heart Association, potassium lessens the effects of sodium and relieves tension in the walls of the blood vessels.

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Every adult should aim to eat 3,500–4,700 mg of potassium daily. Bananas are a great snack on their own as well, but they’re also the perfect addition to smoothies, oatmeal, and toast with almond butter.

Beets

Drinking beet juice can help reduce blood pressure in both the short and long term. In 2015, researchers found that drinking red beet juice lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension who drank 250 milliliters (about 1 cup) every day for 4 weeks. They even noticed some positive effects within 24 hours.

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In that study, those who drank 1 cup of the beet juice each day had an average drop in blood pressure of around 8/4 ml of mercury mm Hg. For many, this change took their blood pressure to the normal range. On average, a single blood pressure medication reduces levels by 9/5 mm Hg. Beets have high levels of inorganic nitrate, which causes a reduction in blood pressure. You can also add beets to salads.

Dark Chocolate

Finally, an excuse to eat chocolate! But it has to be dark chocolate. A review of 15 trials proposes that cocoa-rich chocolate lowers blood pressure in people with hypertension or prehypertension.

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You should choose high-quality chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa, and have a single square, or a piece measuring about 1 ounce, every day. You can also add that one piece of chocolate to smoothies, to give it an extra boost.

Kiwis

A daily serving of kiwi can lower blood pressure in those with mildly elevated levels, according to the results of a study. Researchers compared the effects of apples and kiwis on subjects with slightly high blood pressure. Eating three kiwis a day for 8 weeks led to a more significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

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This was compared to eating one apple a day for the same period. The authors of the study suspect that the bioactive substances in kiwis are the reason for the reduction. Kiwis are also rich in vitamin C, which may significantly improve blood pressure readings in people who consumed around 500 mg of the vitamin every day for about 8 weeks.

Watermelon

Watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid, which can help manage high blood pressure. Citrulline helps the body produce nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes blood vessels and supports flexibility in the arteries. These effects help the flow of blood, which can then lower high blood pressure.

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In one study, obese adults and those with prehypertension or mild hypertension took watermelon extract, and it showed reduced blood pressure in the ankles and brachial arteries. Researchers also found that animals given a diet full of watermelon had better heart health.

Oats

Oats have a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which can reduce blood cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan can also lower blood pressure. A review of 28 trials found that higher consumption of beta-glucan may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

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Barley is another food that contains this fiber. Start your day off with a bowl of oatmeal. Or instead of using breadcrumbs for your new veggie burgers, use rolled oats instead.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are rich in nitrates, which manage your blood pressure. Research suggests that eating 1–2 servings of nitrate-rich vegetables every day can reduce any hypertension for up to 24 hours.

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Some ideas: stir spinach into curries and stews, sauté some Swiss chard with garlic, or bake a batch of kale chips. Other leafy greens include cabbage, collard greens, fennel, lettuce, and mustard greens.

Garlic

It’s a natural antibiotic and antifungal food. The main active ingredient, allicin, is responsible for many of its associated health benefits. And research suggests that garlic increases the production of nitric oxide, which will help smooth muscles and the blood vessels to dilate. These changes can reduce hypertension.

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Another study reported that garlic extract reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with hypertension. Not only is garlic healthy for you – but it’s also really yummy! Use garlic instead of salt when adding spices to your meals.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods include natural yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, miso, and tempeh. They’re all rich in probiotics, a beneficial bacteria that play a pivotal role in maintaining gut health. Eating probiotics also have a modest effect on high blood pressure, according to a review of nine studies.

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Effects were more enhanced when study participants: had multiple species of probiotic bacteria, had probiotics regularly for more than 8 weeks, and had at least 100 billion colony-forming units a day.

Lentils and Pulses

Lentils are very popular in many diets around the world. They’re an excellent source of vegetarian protein and fiber. In 2014, researchers studied the effects of a diet rich in pulses on rats and reported decreased levels of blood pressure and cholesterol.

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30% of the rats’ diet comprised of beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas. Lentils are versatile – you can use them as a vegetarian alternative to beef or add them to salads, stews, and soups.

Natural Yogurt

The America Heart Association has stated that yogurt can reduce the risk of high blood pressure in women. Middle-aged women who consumed five or more servings of yogurt every week for 18–30 years showed a 20% reduction in the risk of hypertension, compared to similarly aged women who rarely ate yogurt.

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Interestingly, the men in the study didn’t appear to have the same benefits. Unsweetened yogurts, like natural or Greek yogurts, have the most benefits. Yogurt with fruit and oatmeal is the perfect breakfast, by the way!

Pomegranates

A study from 2012 found that drinking 1 cup of pomegranate juice every day for 28 days can lower high blood pressure in the short term. The researchers ascribed this effect to the fruit’s antioxidants.

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Pomegranates can be eaten as is, but many people prefer them as juice. If you buy pre-packaged pomegranate juice, be sure that there’s no added sugar.

Pistachios

Pistachio nuts are another good food source for those with high blood pressure. Eating pistachios may decrease one’s risk of hypertension. One study reported that by adding pistachio nuts to a moderate-fat diet can reduce blood pressure during times of stress.

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This could be due to a compound in the nuts that reduces the tightness of blood vessels. Other studies found that other nuts, like almonds, had a similar effect. Snack on plain pistachios or toss them into salads.

Salmon, Mackerel, and Fish with Omega-3s

Fish are a wonderful source of lean protein. Fatty fish, such as mackerel and salmon, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides.

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Trout contains vitamin D, which is notable because foods rarely contain vitamin D. And this hormone-like vitamin has properties that help lower blood pressure. Cooking fish is actually very easy. Some lemon and garlic is all you need.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is one example of healthy fat. It contains polyphenols, inflammation-fighting compounds that help reduce blood pressure. It’s a main component of the highly-acclaimed Mediterranean diet.

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Olive oil is a great alternative to canola oil, butter, or high-calorie salad dressing. When making your next salad, try using olive oil and lemon instead of the store-bought dressing.

Seeds

It’s wise to add unsalted seeds to your diet, too. Unsalted seeds like pumpkin, flax, and sunflower can be added easily to salad, yogurt, or oatmeal to help lower your blood pressure.

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Seeds are a rich source of vital minerals like magnesium, which does the job of helping to control your blood pressure and relax your blood vessels. Just make sure they’re unsalted!

Exercise!

Sure, this list is filled with food. But don’t underestimate the power of moving your body! Exercise is one of the major keys to lowering your blood pressure. Working out will also boost the effectiveness of blood pressure medication if you’re being treated for hypertension.

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And the thing is, you don’t have to be an athlete! Just put on some sneakers and go for a walk. Trust us; you’ll be happy you did.

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