Five High Sodium Foods to Avoid with High Blood Pressure
By Nmami Life Editorial 06-Jun 2020 Reading Time: 5 Mins
High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. A low salt diet helps and so salt is one of the most problematic ingredients for a person with high blood pressure and it’s important to eliminate excess salt from the diet. This may seem easy enough, but salt difficult to avoid.
Five food items which are high in sodium and should be avoided are as follows:
- Pickled foods
Preserving any food requires extra salt as it stops the food from decaying and keeps it edible longer. However, salt can take even the most innocent food like cucumber and make it a sodium sponge. The longer vegetables sit in canning and preserving liquids, the more sodium they can pick up. Pickling vegetables are put in a solution of salt (to kill off bacteria which may cause the pickle or food to rancid) and other flavoring agents. Avoid eating market bought pickles or prefer home-made ones and restrict it by having once in two weeks or so.
- Cured meats
Cured meats include beef, pork, ham, bacon, and deli meats are often prepared by soaking them in a brine bath made with saltwater and spices. While cured meats can be really delightful to eat, it’s best to avoid them. Watch out especially if your have high blood pressure or when you go out to eat. Processed slices of bread might also be high in salt as it is quite easy for one sub or sandwich to have over 2,000 mg of salt.
- Sauces and condiments
Common condiments like ketchup, soy sauce, barbeque sauce, or salad dressings can have an extra dose of salt too. Make sure to notice the ingredients before you buy or better to prepare at home. You could also try adding herbs and spices to your food like basil, rosemary as these are less harmful. These ingredients may spice up and add taste to your dish but are sources of “hidden salt.” Even red and white sauces in Italian dishes have lots of salt, and so does ready-made puree, garlic-ginger paste, or gravy.
- Processed foods
Similar to canned vegetables and soups, many processed foods like bakery cookies, cakes, savories contain lots of salt. This includes some frozen products, like frozen pizzas or ready to eat a meal. Look for low-salt or low-sodium options or prepare fresh at home. All pizzas can be a poor choice for people watching their sodium intake as the combination of cheese; cured meats, tomato sauce, and crust add up to high levels of sodium. It is said that a single serving of a frozen cheese or meat-and-cheese pizza can contain more than 700 mg of sodium, sometimes even more. The thicker the crust and the more toppings you have, the higher the sodium level it has to preserve it.
- Canned foods
Many canned drinks, soups, and other food products are prepared with lots of salt for taste and to increase the shelf life of the food. Opt for fresh vegetables or low-salt freshly prepared home-made soups. Either avoid or rinse the vegetables before eating to get rid of the extra salt. Similarly, canned tuna or beans are also often high in salt and should be avoided.
Over to you
A healthy and balanced diet of lean protein, legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables could help you manage high blood pressure.