It is normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day. However, if it stays high for too long, it can damage your heart and cause other health issues. For example, having serious high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the United States. If you want to avoid these risks, it’s important to keep your blood pressure within a safe range.
Besides medication, there are other ways to lower blood pressure, such as boosting your exercise as well as change your diet, both by watching what you eat and drink. If you’re not sure where to start making changes, let’s start with the meat section. We spoke to Lisa R. YoungPhD, RDNauthor of Finally full, finally thin and The teller planabout the worst meats to avoid to lower your blood pressure.
Easy to pick up at your neighborhood caterer or at the charcuterie counter of your grocery store, delicatessen are a common household food. You can use them to make quick, easy and tasty sandwiches. However, convenience is not always better.
“Deli meats are highly processed and full of sodium and often contain a preservative sodium nitrate,” says Dr. Young. “Nitrate has been linked to heart disease. Excess sodium (salt) is linked to high blood pressure.”
In research published by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, those who consumed more nitrates than others were at greater risk of major cardiovascular problems than those who consumed less. Moreover, in another article published in the Nutrient Diaryseveral studies have shown that consuming a lot of sodium is associated with a high risk of hypertension (also known as high blood pressure).
A very popular breakfast meat, a bunch of bacon can skyrocket your blood pressure.
“Bacon is loaded with sodium as well as nitrates which can elevate blood pressure,” says Dr. Young.
A slice of bacon calculates to about 115 milligrams of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends that people with high blood pressure consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Although this is just over 7% of the recommended amount, it can easily add up. And instead of a slice of bacon, it turns into two, three or four. Think about the next time you eat a Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato (BLT) sandwich. See how many slices you eat.
fast food chain normally get a negative reputation for all the unhealthy foods they sell. Although they have become better at selling healthier food options, there are still some menu items that you should pay attention to. Especially, when monitoring your blood pressure.
Specifically, Dr. Young recommends staying away from cheeseburgers and fried chicken sandwiches.
“These are full of sodium as well as fat and calories, all of which can contribute to hypertension,” says Dr. Young.
Looks like these barbecue classics should be taken off the grill.
“The hot dogs are highly processed meats and high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure,” says Dr. Young.
A hot dog contains 424 milligrams of sodium, that’s about 28% of the recommended daily intake if you have high blood pressure, which is a lot for a small piece of meat. Instead, if you feel the urge to barbecue, stick to a burger, where a cooked ground beef patty contains only about 78 milligrams of sodium.
Nevertheless, if you suffer from or are at risk of high blood pressure, it is best to keep these meats away from your diet. Because while they may seem small, they have a bigger impact than you think!
Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and earned a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more