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When you suffer from high blood pressure, certain foods are absolutely to be avoided if you don’t want to see your blood pressure skyrocket. And above all, so as not to erase the positive effects of the anti-hypertensive treatment. A brief overview of the worst foods for people with hypertension.

In France, about 1 in 3 adults suffer from high blood pressure (HTA), without necessarily knowing it. This chronic cardiovascular disease corresponds to abnormally high blood pressure in the blood vessels. We speak of high blood pressure when the systolic pressure (which is measured during the contraction of the heart) is higher than 140 mmHg and when the diastolic pressure (measured during the relaxation of the heart) is higher than 90 mmHg.

On the same subject

What do I eat to lower my blood pressure?

High blood pressure affects around 65% of adults aged 65 and over. The disease is more common in men, in people suffering from sleep apnea, in individuals born prematurely or when there is a family history.

High blood pressure: adopt a diet less rich in salt

But there are also so-called “modifiable” risk factors that you can act on to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure or to live better on a daily basis with this chronic disease: these include sedentary lifestyle, consumption alcohol, smoking, excess salt in the diet, potassium deficiency and overweight. As the Inserm researchers point out, “the first action of care does not involve the prescription of drugs, but by lifestyle and dietary measures which make it possible to normalize blood pressure”.

The main measures:

  • Reducing salt consumption (less than 6 g/day)
  • Reducing alcohol consumption (less than 3 drinks per day for men and less than 2 for women)
  • A diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low in fats of animal origin
  • weight reduction in case of overweight
  • The practice of a adapted regular physical activity in the state of health
  • Smoking cessation

>> And the DASH diet? Developed in the late 1990s, the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is aimed, among other things, at people suffering from high blood pressure: it advocates a diet low in salt (one of the main enemies of blood pressure) and rich in green vegetables (therefore in potassium, an “anti-salt” mineral ). “It’s a common sense program, close to the famous diet Mediterranean but less rich in salt. A real long-term approach to a healthy, long and healthy life”explains Dr Arnaud Cocaul, nutritionist and co-author, with Dr Michel Brack, of the book Le DietDASH (ed. Alpen). Because as a bonus, we pamper our microbiota (well nourished, in particular thanks to fibers), and we fight against oxidative stress with the contribution of many antioxidant compounds present in plants.

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fermented foods
Foods that are fermented or preserved in brine often contain a lot of sodium. This is the case, for example, of pickles. So while they’re good for the microbiota, try to limit the amount of fermented foods you eat. And try vinegar or citrus based marinades which will add a tangy flavor with less salt.

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Frozen dishes
Of course, frozen dishes are practical and often help us out when we don’t have the time, or the desire, to cook. But to retain water, most of these dishes are loaded with salt. So frozen food is once in a while and still check the sodium content on the label.

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brick soups
Industrial soups are known to be too salty. Even if great progress has been made in recipes lately (no soup exceeds 2g of salt per serving), they are anyway much saltier than homemade soups and too low in fiber.

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The alcohol
It is known that the risk of seeing your blood pressure rise increases when you drink alcohol. The amount of alcohol causing hypertension is not clearly defined, but alcohol-related hypertension causesas a first treatment the reduction, or even the total cessation of alcohol consumption.

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Cooking salt.
About 30% of hypertensives have hypertension related to excessive salt consumption. We therefore avoid (re)salting the dishes and instead turn to spices and herbs (turmeric, curry, parsley, cayenne pepper, etc.) to give flavor to the preparations.

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The bread
Surprising but true: bread accounts for about 7% of our daily salt intake. If there is “salt-free bread” special for high blood pressure, we favor sourdough bread, rye bread or wholemeal bread which are more greedy. But beware: not at every meal!

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In bulk: stock cubes, mustard, soy sauce, anchovy puree, pickles, capers… contain hidden salts that increase the bill for high blood pressure. It is preferable to use “homemade” vegetable-based condiments.

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Ready meals
In addition to the fact that they are hyper-loaded in salt, ready-made dishes (salads in trays, lasagna and ready-made quiches, etc.) are often too sweet and too fatty. The “homemade” remains the best option. If you are short of time, you can turn to batch cooking which consists of anticipating the dishes of the week during the weekend.

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The cold cuts
Cooked ham, raw ham, dry sausage, salami, cervelas… Too fatty, cold cuts are also too salty: avoid when you suffer from high blood pressure. Also watch out for smoked salmon (we replace it with fresh or marinated salmon) and canned mackerel (we opt for grilled mackerel instead).

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grapefruit juice
According to the American health authorities (FDA), grapefruit juice but also fresh grapefruit can reduce the effectiveness of certain drugs prescribed against arterial hypertension, in particular nifedipine. Grapefruit juice would also accentuate their side effects.

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The 5 saltiest cheeses are: halloumi, blue-veined cheeses (Roquefort or Bleu d’Auvergne), feta, melted cheeses (burger type cheese) and edam. On the other hand, hypertensive people can safely eat Emmental cheese, mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan!

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