Hello. This is Heart Health Tuesdays! Today, we’ll talk about foods and additive that can increase your blood pressure. Consumed by the typical, busy lifestyle, many people are chronically exposed to a host of chemicals that may be causing or contributing to their elevated blood pressure and other health problems. Some of the most common chemicals linked to elevated blood pressure include: 1. Food additives. 2. Salt.
Limit Excess Salt
When looking to achieve good blood pressure control, one of the most obvious things to monitor closely is what you consume. One of the most common ways to protect against hypertension is by limiting your intake of salt, which can have a detrimental effect on blood pressure. The body requires sodium, but this does not mean that one should take in a high amount of the mineral. An excess of sodium can increase blood pressure dramatically.
Many foods can contribute to high blood pressure such as fatty foods, fried foods, processed foods. With these foods, the main reason that they are more dangerous to your blood pressure is that the salt content is extremely high. Many foods are high in sodium so you need to be very careful of what you eat. At least a small amount of sodium is found in almost every food, so you must read the nutrition labels on everything. Luckily the sodium content is labeled on most food items, which makes it much easier to keep track and buy smart. Even if a food doesn’t have a label, you can often search for the item online with a nutrition app.
If you are a salt lover and find it difficult to cut back on your consumption, you will be happy to know that there are alternative additives that can be used while keeping your hypertension under control. Different kinds of salt substitutes are available such as those that contain calcium or potassium. These are especially great for vegetarians and vegans who have a difficult time getting enough calcium in their diet. It is important to consult your physician to make sure that these substitutes are safe for you to use. For example, patients with kidney disease will not be able to use these supplements.
These are just a few examples of foods and additives that can cause increases to your blood pressure. Remember to talk with your physician about the best way to control any complications related to hypertension.
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I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.
Tools to Improve Heart Health
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.
Remember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.
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PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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