Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a disease in which your blood puts too much stress on the walls of your arteries for an extended period of time. If you have hypertension, you’re most likely dealing with it if your blood puts too much strain on the walls of your arteries over time. Your poor eating and drinking habits, as well as other lifestyle choices such as smoking cigarettes or lack of exercise, might raise blood pressure.
There are a number of ways to decrease your blood pressure, one of which is to alter what you are putting into your body—and that includes both foods you should enjoy and those you should avoid. According to Laura Burak MS, RD, one eating habit that might be causing havoc on your blood pressure is eating too much salt.
“Consuming a diet high in salt is one of the most frequent dietary behaviors linked to raising blood pressure,” Burak adds. “This surprisingly isn’t from the salt shaker, but rather from processed, prepackaged meals like smoked and canned foods, deli meats, and snack foods like dips and chips.”
Burak says that the typical American diet is high in these salty foods, and some individuals are more susceptible to them.
Instead, she suggests concentrating on consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables. She also suggests reducing the amount of packaged foods you consume, rinsing canned food before eating it, and choosing less salty meals like grilled chicken instead of deli chicken.
Burak also said that one other eating habit can raise your blood pressure: being chronically dehydrated.
“We just do not drink enough water, and when you combine a high-sodium diet with not enough water consumption, it’s like putting two and two together,” Burak continues.
Burak explains that while stress is not an eating habit, it is definitely a prominent feature in our daily lives and can still have a significant impact on our blood pressure via food.
Stress tends to increase the amount of salt and sugar in our diets, which is why you may eat salty crunchy chips or sweet chocolate when you’re under a lot of stress, which can raise your blood pressure.
Constant sitting has negative health effects beyond the impact of what you eat. Burak claims that inactivity causes your body’s food to stagnate.
“Since the pandemic, people are more sedentary than ever,” Burak states. “There is a mountain of evidence that exercising regularly and staying in good shape keeps your heart healthy and strong, as well as maintaining a normal blood pressure. Moving around and sweating also aids in the elimination of excess salt consumption, which helps to keep blood pressure low.”
However, while it isn’t an eating habit in and of itself, it has an impact on how your body deals with food.
“When you begin at the top and figure out how to decrease your stress levels, for example by going outside every day, your eating and drinking habits will most certainly also change,” Burak adds. “Looking at the big picture while making habit adjustments is the most effective and long-lasting approach to improve your entire health.”