High blood pressure is a condition whereby your heart is forced to pump harder and the arteries have to carry blood that is flowing under greater pressure than one would find with a normal circulatory system. The higher pressure obviously puts your arteries and heart under unnecessary strain, and can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. There is no clear explanation regarding why some people suffer in this way, and there are generally no external symptoms.
It is vitally important to keep blood pressure at a healthy level, and this depends on your whole lifestyle. Keeping excess pounds at bay, exercising regularly, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and watching the amount of negative types of fat being consumed are behaviours that should be adopted as part of day to day life to help keep blood pressure within the normal ranges.
However, over Christmas people tend to let things slide a little. Over-indulgence becomes a regular occurrence with constant parties and meals, and blood pressure can slip to the back of your mind. The following are simple suggestions of foods and drinks to steer clear of over the festive period, to ensure that the worst blood pressure offenders stay off of your menu.
This one often surprises people because pickles and sauerkraut are very low in calories and fat. They also contain high levels of Vitamin K. The problem lies in the level of sodium. A single medium sized pickle contains around one third of an adult’s daily sodium requirement! This can cause dehydration, and subsequently negatively effect your blood pressure.
These are not exactly the most appealing food for most people, they are simply quick and convenient which is what increases there desirability. A single pack of these noodles can contain 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat and a whooping 70% of your daily sodium requirement! This is much the same scenario with most other pre-packaged ready meals, so do be cautious and avoid these too as much as possible.
Bacon may give off that delicious smell while cooking. It may contain Vitamins D and B, zinc, iron and magnesium, but I am sorry to say that it also contains high levels of added sodium. Deli meat is much the same. This can cause blood pressure to rise due to the water that is forced from the cells to enable the body to eliminate this sodium.
Sugary Beverages & Desserts
Drinks and cakes that are high in sugar, such as carbonated sodas and most store bought mince pies, play a large part in obesity, which is a major risk factor in going on to develop high blood pressure.
The refined sugar inside has been found to affect a key area of the brain that regulates heart rate and blood pressure. One study even suggests that sugar is more of a problem when it comes to high blood pressure than salt.
In an article in the American Journal of Cardiology, Dr James DiNicolantonio stated that;
‘It is sugar not the salt that may be the actual causative factor for high blood pressure.
This notion is supported by meta analyses of randomised control trials (large-scale studies) suggesting that sugar is more strongly related to blood pressure in humans than sodium.’
Alcohol is a another major contributor of raised blood pressure. It can contribute to weight gain, which is a high risk factor as mentioned to developing high blood pressure. It can even damage the walls of blood vessels on a short term basis.
Regular binge drinking of more than the recommended daily allowance can lead to a long-term increase in your blood pressure. The best advice is to avoid alcohol completely, otherwise enjoy it in strict moderation. For men that means around 2 drinks per day, and for women 1 per day.
You might like to read more of how better body alkaline balance can help normalise blood pressure.
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