High blood pressure: Foods you should avoid if you want to lower your reading

High blood pressure is a condition where the pressure inside the arteries is higher than it should be, and left untreated, the risk of complications happening, including a heart attack, heart failure and a stroke is increased.


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Because symptoms of the condition are rarely noticeable, the only sure way to find out if you have the condition is to have your blood pressure regularly checked.

You can have your blood pressure checked at your GP surgery, your local pharmacy or measure your blood pressure yourself using an at-home monitor.

Alongside regularly checking your reading it’s important to do what you can to prevent the condition – one way to do this is through diet.

The NHS says high blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced by eating healthily.

It advises eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables to lower blood pressure.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet, designed by experts in the US, has also been shown as an aid to lower high blood pressure.

As part of the diet, certain foods should be avoided as they could raise blood pressure.

The diet advises to avoid:

  • Processes meats wherever possible
  • Too may cured foods such as bacon
  • Pickled foods, anything tinned in brine and salty condiments
  • Adding salt when cooking rice or pasta
  • Ready meals and frozen convenience foods
  • Tinned tuna and beans – before eating remove excess salt
  • Eating too much meat – reduce your intake by using it as a smaller part of a meal instead of the main focus
  • Too much alcohol

Salt has been shown to raise blood pressure – the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.

The plan emphasises foods rich in nutrients and known to have a positive effect on blood pressure, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein and fibre.

Other ways to lower blood pressure

Being active and taking regular exercise can also lower blood pressure, according to the NHS, as it keeps the heart and blood vessels in good condition.

The health body adds: “Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which will also help lower your blood pressure.


  • High blood pressure: Avoid eating this food to lower reading

“Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.

“Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.”

Cutting down on caffeine is almost important. The NHS says: “Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure.

“If you’re a big fan of coffee, tea or other caffeine-rich drinks, such as cola and some energy drinks, consider cutting down.

“It’s fine to drink tea and coffee as part of a balanced diet, but it’s important that these drinks are not your main or only source of fluid.”

While smoking doesn’t directly cause high blood pressure, it can put a person at much higher risk of having a heart attack and stroke.

The NHS explains: “Smoking, like high blood pressure, will cause your arteries to narrow.

“If you smoke and have high blood pressure, your arteries will narrow much more quickly, and your risk of heart or lung disease in the future is dramatically increased.”

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