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8 Foods To Avoid With High Blood Pressure


High blood pressure is a common problem and is a  growing concern.

A lot of people across the globe have fallen prey to it. Even more alarming fact is that there is an expected rise in their number in coming years.

Now imagine if the world’s population is too much affected by high blood pressure, what a major setback to our developed healthcare it will be.

It is known that an age-related increase in BP is possible. Stiffening of arteries with age causes blood pressure to rise.

It is not surprising that lifestyle and eating habits affect blood pressure. High blood pressure being more prevalent in developing countries has a lot to say.

Busy life, oily and fast food, and lack of sleep are a few causes of hypertension.

This article focuses on eating habits. We will discuss the food items you need to avoid with high blood pressure.

List of foods to avoid with high blood Pressure

It is common in old age to develop[1] the issue of high or low blood pressure levels. But today, even people of a young age are facing this medical issue.

Thus, taking care of your food habits is crucial during high BP.

Any wrong edible on your plate can increase your risk of heart attack, dementia, and many more health problems.

So, here is a list of foods you need to refrain from in case you have high blood pressure-

  1. Salt

    Salt is the most commonly used[2] ingredient in foods. All types of cuisines make use of salt. It is a natural preservative and seasoning. 

    Even the minimalists use salt in food. But little is known that too much salt contributes to high blood pressure.

    The main contributor is sodium present[3] in salt. About 40% of the table salt you use is sodium.

    Some amount of salt is required for healthy survival. It is a vital mineral. However, only 2.3 grams of salt per day is required[4] by an individual. This is about one teaspoon.

    It is even better to stick to lower doses of 1.5 g a day. People with high bp should consider 1-1.5 grams of salt daily.

    The majority of people easily exceed the limit. While monitoring, you might just take into account the salt you add to food.

    In such scenarios, you completely miss out the processed foods as a major source of salt.

    With increasing processed and packaged food consumption, instances[5] of overconsumption of salt are on rising.

    Some common contributors that might be guilty of this are bread, pizzas, burritos, and tacos.

    It might be shocking to find your favorite edibles on the list. But it is a bitter fact that they contribute to the overconsumption of salt.

    It is better to consume only the required amounts of salt and one should try focusing on reducing[6] the overall intake of dietary salt.

    For doing so, some little steps like skipping sprinkling salt on salads and adding minimal amounts to food will help.

    Moreover, stay away from processed and packaged foods as much as possible.

  2. Frozen pizzas

    Pizzas are everyone’s absolute favorite. This Italian dish has a large fanbase. It is popular across the globe.

    Traditionally it is a healthy and nutritious dish baked fresh. But with its growing popularity, several local variations were made.

    One easy-to-go option that emerged was frozen pizzas. All the ingredients in frozen pizza combined are high in sugar and sodium.

    These might be an unhealthy source of fat. The cheese used might be fairly high in sodium. Moreover, the dough is either too sugary or salty.

    This is done for preservation purposes. Once cooked, more salt is added to maintain flavor.

    One serving of pizza contains far more sodium than what the body requires.

    It is better to eat fresh pizzas. You can try making them at home with homemade dough and veggies. Avoid high-sodium cheese.

  3. Alcohol

    One of the most common leisure drinks is alcohol. You can find it at parties, pubs, bars and even houses.

    With the growing luxurious lifestyle, the use of alcohol is on the rise. But you might miss the fact that overconsumption of alcohol increases[7] blood pressure.

    A study has shown[8] a relationship between alcohol consumption and blood pressure. The lower the consumption of alcohol, the lower the blood pressure.

    Limiting the amount of alcohol in people with high blood pressure helps control their BP.

    For people who do not have hypertension, limiting alcohol can then reduce the risk of hypertension.

    Alcohol is also high in sugar and calories. It is also related to problems[9] like obesity. These might further increase symptoms or chances of high blood pressure.

    Alcohol inhibits the action of high BP medications. Therefore, it might increase the risk.

  4. Lunch meat

    Lunch meat is known by several other names like cold cuts or sliced meat.

    It is a pre-cooked version of meat generally used in sandwiches. It is kept sliced to be used. It can be either red or white meat.

    It can also be processed or rarely unprocessed. Both lunch and deli meats are rich in sodium. Salt is added to cure and preserve them.

    When these meats are stuffed in bread to prepare a sandwich, sodium levels are likely to add up. This is because bread too contains sodium.

    Additionally, Lunch meats like salami, bologna, roast beef, turkey, sausages, bacon, pork, and ham are some of those meats that you could avoid.

    Using fresh meats or avoiding[10] meats like red meats will be a great choice for people suffering from high bp.

  5. Pickles

    Pickles add variety and completeness to plates. The key process of pickles is bringing. For preservation, salt is added to pickles. 

    The longer they sit in bringing a solution, the more they absorb the sodium. As we discussed earlier, too much sodium worsen problem during high blood pressure.

    Even a small amount of pickled cucumber contributes[11] up to 448 mg of sodium to the diet. It is advisable[12] for people suffering from hypertension to avoid pickles.

    Also keeping the large population of pickle lovers suffering from hypertension in mind, producers have emerged with something new.

    Some pickles are now available which are low in sodium and high in potassium. If you cannot control your tingling taste buds, you can opt for these pickles instead.

  6. Canned tomato products

    Like pretty much everything on the list, canned options contribute to hypertension more than fresh products.

    Your favorite tomato sauces like pizza sauce, pasta sauce, and even ketchup are not good for hypertension.

    Canned tomato juice is also a big no. The reason is similar to the above-stated foods i.e. sodium.

    Canned tomato products have too much sodium. For instance, the marinara sauce contains[13] 556 mg and tomato juice have 615 mg of sodium.

    If you want to avoid risk, choose farm-fresh tomatoes. Not only do they have a lesser risk of hypertension but several benefits.

    Lycopene present in tomatoes is an excellent[14] antioxidant. It will be good for your heart, unlike canned tomato edibles.

  7. Full fat dairy

    As we know, saturated fats might make your hypertension worse. One prime source of trans and saturated fats in full-fat dairy products.

    These animal products obtained from dairy might increase blood pressure. Though, it is not compulsory as the results of some studies suggest otherwise.

    In this study[15], it was found that full-fat dairy does not have much effect on BP.

    But recent diets developed for controlling hypertension like the DASH diet emphasize[16] controlling high-fat dairy.

    It is believed that some full-fat dairy products like whole milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter increase the risk of hypertension.

    It is better to opt for low-fat dairy. Some studies have even stated that they are good for the heart. They might help relieve high blood pressure.

  8. Sugar

    We began the list on a salty note. The end has to be sweet. But it becomes bittersweet knowing that even sugar might worsen hypertension.

    It might increase your BP in several ways. Sugar is correlated with an elevated risk of obesity. Sugar-sweetened drinks remain a prime factor in the obese population.

    A study[17] involving females with high BP stated that decreasing sugar by 2.3 teaspoons resulted in a significant drop in systolic and diastolic pressure.

    Systolic blood pressure witnessed a drop of 8.4 Hg. On the other hand, diastolic blood pressure dropped by 3.7 Hg.

    Healthy recommendations of sugar intake for men is around 9 tablespoons. For females, it is limited to 6 teaspoons.


In addition to avoiding high blood pressure foods, one could also take help from foods to lower blood pressure naturally.

High blood pressure is a common but alarming issue. It is a growing concern that is affecting one-quarter of the global population. This trend is on the rise.

No one is left out of its reach. From children to senior citizens, all are prone to hypertension. Lifestyle and diet are significant factors contributing to the cause.

Although, it is not impossible to reduce the risk of hypertension. Several diet plans are being effectively researched to find a solution to the problem.

It is advised to consider your health expert to make necessary changes in your diet to maintain normal blood pressure.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. High Blood Pressure and Older Adults Content reviewed: October 27, 2021 Available from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure-and-older-adults
  2. Salt, table. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173468/nutrients
  3. Sodium in Your Diet. Available from https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/sodium-your-diet
  4. Most People Consume Too Much Salt. Available from https://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm
  5. Patricia de Oliveira da Silva Scaranni , Leticia de Oliveira Cardoso , Dora Chor , et al. Ultra-processed foods, changes in blood pressure and incidence of hypertension: the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil). Public Health Nutr. 2021 Aug;24(11):3352-3360. doi: 10.1017/S136898002100094X. Epub 2021 Mar 4. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33658095/
  6. Tiberio M Frisoli , Roland E Schmieder, Tomasz Grodzicki, et al. Salt and hypertension: is salt dietary reduction worth the effort? Review: Am J Med. 2012 May;125(5):433-9.doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.10.023. Avaialble from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22482843/
  7. Kazim Husain, Rais A Ansari, and Leon Ferder. Alcohol-induced hypertension: Mechanism and prevention. World J Cardiol.
    2014 May 26; 6(5): 245–252. Published online 2014 May 26. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v6.i5.245.
  8. Sara Tasnim, Chantel Tang, Vijaya M Musini, et al. Effect of alcohol on blood pressure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Jul; 2020(7): CD012787. Published online 2020 Jul 1. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012787.pub2
  9. Alcohol and weight gain. Available from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Alcohol-and-weight-gain
  10. Ioanna Tzoulaki, Ian J Brown, Queenie Chan, et al. Relation of iron and red meat intake to blood pressure: cross sectional epidemiological study. BMJ. 2008; 337: a258. Published online 2008 Jul 15. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a258
  11. Pickles, cucumber, sour. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169379/nutrients
  12. Mohammad Hossein Rouhani, Fahimeh Agh, and Leila Azadbakht. Pickle Consumption is Associated with Body Mass Index and Blood Pressure among Iranian Female College Students: a Cross-Sectional Study. Clin Nutr Res. 2018 Oct; 7(4): 256–265. Published online 2018 Oct 15. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2018.7.4.256
  13. Sauce, pasta, spaghetti/marinara, ready-to-serve. Available from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/332282/nutrients
  14. Erica N. Story, Rachel E. Kopec, Steven J. Schwartz, et al. An Update on the Health Effects of Tomato Lycopene. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2010; 1: 10.1146/annurev.food.102308.124120. doi: 10.1146/annurev.food.102308.124120
  15. Mary M. McGrane, Eve Essery, Julie Obbagy, et al. Dairy Consumption, Blood Pressure, and Risk of Hypertension: An Evidence-Based Review of Recent Literature. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep. 2011 Aug 1; 5(4): 287–298. doi: 10.1007/s12170-011-0181-5
  16. DASH Eating Plan. Available from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/dash-eating-plan
  17. Safiyah Mansoori, Nicole Kushner, Richard R. Suminski, et al. Added Sugar Intake is Associated with Blood Pressure in Older Females. Nutrients. 2019 Sep; 11(9): 2060. Published online 2019 Sep 3. doi: 10.3390/nu11092060

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