Your blood pressure is the amount of force your blood exerts on the walls of your blood vessels. Having high blood pressure (or hypertension) means that the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high.
If blood pressure is too high for too long, it can cause serious damage to the blood vessels. This can lead to some serious health problems, some of which can be life-threatening. These conditions include heart failure, vision loss, stroke, and kidney disease.
It is possible to have blood pressure for years without experiencing any symptoms. In fact, a 2020 study showed that over 27.5 million Nigerians have high blood pressure.
Studies have shown that the kind of food you eat can either increase, decrease, or stabilize this force on your blood vessels.
When you have high blood pressure or hypertension, it is important that you eat foods that have minimal effects on your blood pressure. That way, you will be able to maintain your blood pressure and prevent it from going higher.
Below are some Nigerian foods you need to avoid if you have high blood pressure because they have been shown to elevate the blood pressure.
10 Nigerian Foods To Avoid When You Have High Blood Pressure
The following are some certain foods in Nigeria you can either limit or avoid when you have high blood pressure.
First and foremost, if you have high blood pressure, you should reduce salt and sodium intake. High salt or sodium intake is one of the major factors that increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Salt and sodium affect fluid balance in the blood.
When you consume too much salt (which contains sodium), your body holds extra water to balance it with the salt in your body. And this may cause blood pressure to rise because the added water puts stress on your heart and blood vessels. Therefore, it’s important to significantly curb the amount of salt you take if you’re hypertensive.
2. Hot dogs
Hot dogs are absolutely loaded with sodium. In fact, 100 grams of hot dogs contain about 1090 mg of sodium, which is 45% of the required daily intake (RDI). Therefore, hot dogs are not recommended for people who have high blood pressure.
3. Red meat
Studies have shown that eating red meat can have a significant impact on your blood pressure. In fact, the study showed that eating about 103 g/day can increase your blood pressure by 1.25 mmHg and 0.73 mmHg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The more 103g/day you eat, the more your mmHg adds up.
Red meats include beef, pork, lamb, venison, veal, and goat meat. The redder the meat, the more strain it will have on your body’s metabolic process, and the higher your blood pressure will tend to increase. Most times, you want to substitute them with leaner meats.
Drinking too much alcohol is going to increase your blood pressure, and if you have high blood pressure, you must drastically reduce the amount of alcohol you consume. A 2017 study found that limiting the intake of alcohol can lower blood pressure. Thus, it’s imperative to avoid or limit alcohol when you have high blood pressure.
Furthermore, taking alcohol might also affect blood pressure medications from working effectively because of drug interactions. So if you’re on high blood pressure medications, you should avoid alcohol.
5. High fatty foods
If you are looking for a way to reduce your risk of high blood pressure or want to lower your blood pressure, it is always a good idea to avoid high fatty foods, especially those containing a high amount of saturated fats.
Too much saturated fats will raise your blood cholesterol levels. This can easily increase cholesterol deposits in your blood vessels which will make it harder for blood to flow properly within your body which will most times eventually lead to heart failure or stroke.
Some high fatty foods you need to avoid include full-fat dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt; cooking fats like palm oil, groundnut oil, margarine, and butter; and desserts like chocolate, cakes, etc.
6. Baked beans
Baked beans are another high-sodium food to avoid when you’re hypertensive. One can of baked beans contains about 430mg of sodium, which is 19% of the RDI for sodium — primarily from added salt. That makes them an unwise choice for people with high blood pressure.
Bread often contains a higher amount of salt than most of your other meals since salt is the most dominant tasting ingredient in bread. In 100 grams of white bread, there is about 491 mg of sodium (27% of the RDI). Studies have also linked excessive bread consumption with elevated blood pressure levels.
As such, you might want to avoid eating bread as much as you can. Or better still, go for whole-grain bread.
8. Canned tomato products
Most canned tomato products contain high amounts of salt, with about 60g of salt per 100g of the paste.
Most times, you want to stay away from canned tomato pastes like Gino, Sonia, St Rita, and all the other canned tomato brands in Nigeria.
9. Pizza and sandwiches
Pizza and sandwiches are two popular junk foods in Nigeria. Although they are delicious, they are very high in sodium should be eschewed from those with high blood pressure.
While sugar is not technically a major meal, it is a component of most of our meals in Nigeria. Sugar has been shown to increase blood pressure, with some studies showing that sugar might even be worse than salt when it comes to increasing blood pressure.
Consuming sugar makes the body release insulin — an enzyme that is needed to change excess sugar into glucagon for storage. The release of this enzyme often activates the sympathetic nervous system, which can easily lead to higher heartbeats and increased pumping force in your blood vessels.
As such, you might want to avoid some of these Nigerian foods with high sugar content.
The above are some of the Nigerian foods you need to avoid if you are suffering from high blood pressure. Ensure to ensure you watch your diet closely to avoid complications from high blood pressure.
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