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Blood pressure can be a tricky thing. Once your blood pressure starts to rise, it can be difficult to lower it without the use of medication. If you already have high blood pressure, your doctor will likely recommend blood pressure medication to keep your pressure at safe levels. However, there are also steps you can take to lower your blood pressure on your own. In combination with any medications your doctor recommends, you can see results quickly when you avoid these foods.

What is it that causes high blood pressure?

According to many scientific studies, blood pressure is caused by a variety of factors, including stress, and a diet high in sodium and low in potassium leads to high blood pressure. But avoiding table salt is not enough to lower blood pressure. One scientific study showed that about 70 percent of the salt that we eat comes from processed foods and not table salt.

Avoid these foods to encourage your blood pressure to lower naturally without the use of medication (never stop taking medication unless recommended by your doctor):

Processed meat:

Processed meat made from smoking, curing, salting, and chemical preservatives all contain high levels of sodium. You will find these meats in the pre-packaged meat department including hot dogs, sausage, ham, bacon, and lunch meat.

Sugary drinks:

You may not thing that sugar can lead to high blood pressure, but recent studies have shown that too much sugar intake can lead to high blood pressure. Avoid sugar drinks like sweetened tea, sodas, and energy drinks.

Canned veggies and soup:

You might think you are benefiting your health when you eat canned vegetables, but most canned vegetables have high sodium levels and blood-pressure raising chemicals. Some cans of veggies or soup may contain over 700 milligrams of sodium. If you must eat canned foods, look for no salt added varieties.

Sugary snacks:

Just like sugary drinks, sugary snacks can also lead to high blood pressure. Many processed snacks not only contain sugar (which can raise blood pressure on its own), but they also contain preservatives and high levels of sodium. Anything with added sugars and preservatives can lead to an increase in blood pressure.

So, what can you eat to reduce blood pressure?

In general, the same advice applies for any other healthy diet. Avoid processed foods when possible, and stick to naturally-occurring foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and minimally-processed dairy products. You doctor can advise you on specific foods to eat and avoid. Certain medications may interfere with certain medications, so make sure you discuss your diet with your doctor before making any changes.

Combating high blood pressure can be a challenge, but with the right steps, you can help reduce your blood pressure naturally. Avoid these foods and replace them with fresh, healthy foods and you should see your blood pressure start to drop. When you take a proactive approach to blood pressure, you will avoid the expense of blood pressure medication and other medical supplies due to frequent doctor and hospital visits.

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