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Five Foods to Skip for Better Blood Pressure

Saying no to salt

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is commonly referred to as the “silent killer.” There are few signs or symptoms, and many times it goes unnoticed until it is too late. One in three Hawai‘i adults has high blood pressure,1 and Native Hawaiians are at an increased risk for it.2 This condition increases the likelihood of experiencing heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and other health issues.

Knowing your numbers and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits can prevent and manage high blood pressure. One of the best ways to lower your blood pressure is by eating a nutritious diet. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, nuts and legumes, and lean sources of protein. Aim to limit saturated and trans fats, sodium, red meat, and sweets.

These five foods are best to skip as they can raise your blood pressure:

Processed Meats & Red Meats

Deli meats, bacon and hot dogs are all processed meats, which contain significant amounts of sodium or salt. In most cases, a diet high in salt will result in high blood pressure. Red meats such as beef, pork and lamb are also known to trigger an increase in levels. It is best to limit and choose a leaner protein such as fish or chicken.

Full-Fat Dairy Products

Cream, milk, yogurt, and cheese all contain saturated fats. Make the switch to low-fat or fat-free dairy products to reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet.


High amounts of added sugar in a diet will lead you to gain weight, which places strain on your body. Caffeine is also a risk factor for high blood pressure. Try replacing your beverage with a glass of water infused with fruit.

Baked Goods

While a cake, donut or pastry can be an enjoyable occasional sweet treat, these can also have lots of saturated and trans fats. Consider baking them at home where you can replace ingredients with heart-healthy alternatives.

Grapefruit & Grapefruit Juice

If you are taking high blood pressure medicine, be sure to ask your doctor about grapefruit. The mix of the medicine and fruit can negatively impact your levels. Speak with your doctor and consider drinking another 100 percent fruit juice.

A healthier diet can set you on the path of controlling your blood pressure. Start with small changes. Eliminate one unhealthy food each week and look for heart-healthy alternatives. This can lead to a big impact and reduce your risk of cardiovascular issues.


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