7 surprising foods that raise blood pressure

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A major contributor to high blood pressure is our daily diet. High blood pressure tends to make your arteries stiff and is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

For instance, it is well known that high sodium consumption may raise you blood pressure levels.

Your body is known to hold extra water to wash away the salt and this may cause your blood pressure to rise as the added water puts an extra load on your heart and blood vessels.

Besides salt, there are some other foods too that can raise your blood pressure levels unknowingly:

1. Dairy products
Dairy products like milk and cheese contain sodium naturally. Some studies have shown that cheeses such as Mozzarella and emmental are known to contain lesser sodium than the others. Whole milk is also full of fat and so, if you have high blood pressure, you should prefer low fat or skimmed milk.

2. Alcohol
A lot of studies indicate that having more than three drinks can temporarily raise your blood pressure levels. Moreover, repeated episodes of binge drinking are known to have a long lasting effect on your blood pressure levels.

3. Coffee
The primary stimulant in coffee, caffeine is known to raise your blood pressure levels considerably. It is believed that caffeine may block adenosine, a hormone responsible for keeping blood vessels widened and ensuring smooth flow of blood. If you have high blood pressure, you must also steer clear of energy drinks that offer a high dose of both caffeine and sugar that are known to have a negative impact on your blood pressure levels.

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4. Refined sugar
Excess sugar leads to more fat creation and fat accumulation in the body. Weight gain and obesity are the major cause of high blood pressure. Excess fat, especially around your abdominal area, is known to make your arteries inflexible and thus cause high blood pressure.

5. Frozen fish and seafood
While seafood is considered to be a healthier meat, it may contain a higher amount of sodium. For instance, fresh shrimp is high on sodium. Similarly, frozen fish is often brined in a salt solution to make it last longer and it is best to avoid it if you have high blood pressure.

6. Pork, red meat and processed meat
Pork and red meat contain a whole lot of fat that may get accumulated in the body and put on extra load on your blood vessels of even cause blockages. Processed meats like ham or bacon, on the other hand, are often soaked in salt solution to increase their shelf life which adds to their sodium content.

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7. Pickles
Your favourite pickle may be sneakily raising your blood pressure. Pickles contain a whole lot of salt and are a common accompaniment with most of our meals. Those at risk of high blood pressure should go easy on them.

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