If you know that your family has a history of high blood pressure, consider yourself the lucky one. You now have a clear warning sign to start taking steps to prevent yourself from developing hypertension, like changing what you’re eating habits are.
Start reducing your high blood pressure risks by using these three key eating habits.
1 — Don’t eat fast food, Eat fresh food.
By doing so consistently, you will automatically lower the amount of salt within your diet. And sodium has a large impact on how high your blood pressure is.
When you consume too much salt, it is more difficult for your kidneys to take water out of your body. The fluid builds up and raises your blood pressure. It is recommended for Americans to eat approximately 2,300 mg of sodium each day, which is enough if you’re only seasoning your meals with the salt. “Most Americans eat much more than the recommended 2,300 mg, mostly from processed foods, fast foods, frozen foods, and canned goods,” said Su-Nui Escobar.
She said that making a habit of the following four steps could greatly improve your cardiovascular health:
- Taste the food before you use the salt shaker; you will likely find the food taste good without the added salt.
- Limit how many fast-food meals you consume.
- Greatly reduce your consumption of prepared foods, such as frozen dinners and processed foods, which are packed with sodium.
- Choose fresh food over canned and frozen foods. Even canned vegetables have a lot of added sodium as a preservative. Rinse them with water before you eat them.
2 — Eat less saturated fat.
This advice goes to everyone but especially those with a family history of having high blood pressure.
“Limit your meat consumption at mealtime to a 3-ounce portion size, treat fried foods and red meats that are highly marbled as a rare treat, trim the fat from all of the meat, opt for low-fat dairy, and greatly increase the number of vegetables, fruits and fiber you eat daily,” said Rebecca Schilling.
“Foods that are high in saturated fats create the perfect storm of trouble for cardiovascular health, raising bad (LDL) cholesterol, clogging arteries and contributing to higher blood pressure,” adds Schilling.
If you cannot give up your red meats, at least choose the leaner cuts like extra-lean ground beef or sirloin.
3 — Limit sausage and other processed meats.
Not only are some processed meats like bacon, sausage and deli meats higher in saturated fats, they are packed with sodium and some other preservatives that are very unhealthy for your heart, said Melissa Mitri.
“Make it a habit of putting a limit on your processed meat consumption as much as you can,” she said. Clinical research has shown that it can have an impact by doing that. One study discovered that females who ate over five servings of processed red meat each week had a 17% increased rate of high blood pressure than that of females who ate less than a serving each week.