High BP, also known as hypertension, is a serious medical condition caused due to a rise in pressure on the walls of the arteries. People having high BP are at a risk of getting affected by serious health problems like coronary heart diseases, kidney failure, heart attack, etc. When people are diagnosed with high BP, the doctor suggests medications that have to be taken to keep the blood pressure at a normal level. However, along with medications, it is also important to exercise and choose a healthy diet. It has been observed that the main reason for hypertension in people is that they do not follow a healthy and nutritious diet plan.
A high BP diet should be high in vitamins, antioxidants, potassium and magnesium. People diagnosed with high BP have to consume lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereal, nuts, etc to stay healthy. However, along with the foods that should be eaten, it is also important to know about foods to be avoided. Let us look at some important food items that have to be avoided to keep blood pressure to a normal level.
Eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones surely help in protecting one from the health risks that arise from high BP. Following is a list of items that patients suffering from high BP should avoid:
- Salt and Sodium: People having high BP should restrict the intake of sodium, commonly known as salt, in their food. Consumption of excess salt in foods, not only increases the chance of high BP, but also damages the heart and arteries. The ideal salt intake for a patient of high BP is not more than 2,400 milligrams or 1 teaspoon of salt every day. Similarly, doctors advice high BP patients to consume food rich in potassium.
- Fats: Foods containing saturated or trans fat should be totally avoided by people suffering from high BP. Some doctors advise limited use of fats, but this depends on severity of the problem. Consuming food that is high in fats leads to obesity, which in turn results in high BP. Hence, it is advised to abstain from foods that are fried and that contain fatty acids. Consumption of food cooked in artificial oils should be avoided at all costs.
- Red Meat: Another food item that should not be included in a high BP diet is red meat. This is because red meat may contain chemicals and toxic substances consumed by the animal. This is not suitable for the body and can increase the chances of high BP. Under such circumstances, patients are recommended to consume white meat in reasonable proportion along with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sugar: Other than foods containing fats, even those that are high in sugar can give rise to obesity. Becoming overweight puts extra pressure on the heart, leading to slow blood flow. Hence, it is advised that people suffering from high BP avoid foods containing sugar. In such a situation, patients may opt for using zero calorie sugar made from beetroot.
- Processed Food: It is important to avoid eating processed or packed food. In recent times, due to our busy schedule, more and more people opt to eat out or buy packaged food. Most of these packaged foods are high in salt, fats and do not contain essential nutrients. So, it is important to avoid eating processed or packaged food.
- Alcohol: Alcohol consumption is also said to increase the rate of blood pressure in a person. Alcohol can cause damage to the walls of arteries and can lead to other serious health problems. Though some patients are allowed to drink alcohol in moderation, it largely depends on their overall health.
There have been many cases where severe health problems have occurred in people already diagnosed with high BP because they do not control their food intake. Some people think that if they are taking medicines for high BP, they can eat anything they want. However, this is not the case. Medications would not help in any way if people do not follow a strict diet. Thus, it is very important for people having high BP to restrict from consuming these foods that harm the body and cause health problems. Even people who are not suffering from hypertension should consume these foods in moderation to prevent then from getting affected by high BP.