Eat This Not That High Blood Pressure Edition

Oct 01, 2023
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When it comes to health, we truly are what we eat. If you have hypertension, watching your diet can help you manage your blood pressure and prevent complications. Here’s how to optimize your eating plan.

Blood pressure measures the pressure or force your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries during circulation. Your blood pressure plays a major role in your health.

If your blood pressure is too high — like it is for nearly half of all adults in the United States — your risks of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, vision problems, and other serious health issues also increase. 

High blood pressure (or hypertension) can be managed with blood pressure medications. However, there are things you can do to manage your blood pressure and decrease the risks associated with hypertension. One step we can all benefit from: watching what we eat.

A leading internal medicine practice in Miami, Florida, I & B Medical Associates helps patients manage their blood pressure with treatment plans focused on their unique needs.

In this post, our team helps you learn which foods to eat and which to avoid to help keep your blood pressure under control.

Eat: Colorful fruits and vegetables

Maybe you’ve heard the slogan, “Eat the rainbow.” This simple guidance refers to the health benefits from eating colorful fruits and vegetables, like berries, leafy greens, citrus fruits, purple cabbage, orange and red peppers, and other pigmented produce. 

Those colors come from antioxidants that help your body ward off age-related cell damage and inflammation. 

Many fruits and vegetables are also rich in potassium, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals essential for cardiovascular health.

Some types of produce, like beets, garlic, berries, leafy greens, and bananas, may help lower blood pressure naturally. Plus, they’re all low in sodium, which can cause blood pressure to rise.

Skip: Processed foods and prepackaged meals

Processed foods, including ready-to-eat meals, frozen meals, canned soups, and packaged snack foods, tend to contain a lot of unhealthy fats, and most are high in sodium. Worse, extra processing often destroys nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Also, avoid deli meats, sausage, ham, and bacon. Fast foods, including burgers, fried chicken or fish, and fries, should all be significantly limited or, better still, skipped entirely.

Eat: Whole grains 

Whole grains are full of fiber that contributes to cardiovascular health and helps you maintain your weight. When shopping, always opt for whole-grain varieties over refined grains to lock in those benefits.

Swapping brown rice for white rice, whole-grain bread for white bread, and whole-grain pasta for white pasta are smart moves for your blood pressure and overall health. 

Or incorporate whole grains, like quinoa, bulgur, or farro, as a side and enjoy cholesterol-lowering oatmeal for breakfast.

Skip: Sugars and refined carbs

In addition to refined grains and flour, limit or avoid other types of refined carbs. That includes cakes, cookies, candy, pastries, and sugary drinks.

Sugar increases your risk of inflammation, a major factor in heart and blood vessel damage. Plus, sugars can increase your weight and make you more prone to Type 2 diabetes, another risk factor for high blood pressure and heart problems.

Eat: Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices add flavor to foods, and some spices and herbs can help lower inflammation or blood pressure. Cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, onion powder, and basil are all flavorful spices that can help you avoid adding extra salt to meals. A little lemon or lime juice works well too.

Limit: Salt (sodium)

Your body needs some sodium (no more than 2,300 mg per day), but most of us get what we need from healthy foods. In fact, most of us get far too much sodium, and that directly affects blood pressure. 

Table salt is just one source of sodium. Canned foods, processed foods, crackers, condiments, and bread are unexpected sources to be aware of. Reading labels helps ensure you don’t get too much sodium in your diet.

The good news about eating for healthy blood pressure is it benefits you in other ways. 

Specifically, by focusing on the healthy foods on this list and limiting or skipping unhealthy choices, you can manage your blood pressure and weight, lowering health risks associated with being overweight or obese.

To learn what else you can do to manage your blood pressure, call 786-321-2399 or book an appointment online at I & B Medical Associates today.