NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here's an alarming statistic: One out of every three, or 77.9 million, adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, according to a report by the American Heart Association -- and, it's only getting worse.
By 2030, it's projected that 41.4% of U.S. adults will have high blood pressure.
Why is this so serious?
Nearly 28% of Americans don't even know they have the disease. It's called the "silent killer" because high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a cardiovascular disease that is very difficult to detect. The symptoms and signs are subtle.
As a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, hypertension is the primary cause of death in Americans. It is one of the most preventable conditions -- but if left uncontrolled it can increase your risk of life-threatening health problems like a heart attack or a stroke.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure measures the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats.
While the number can fluctuate from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or food, it should normally be less than 120/80 mmHg. Any higher, and you could be diagnosed with high blood pressure by your doctor. (Hg is the pressure that one millimeter (mm) of mercury (Hg) exerts.)
The good news: Most people can bring down their blood pressure naturally by adjusting their diet. Food matters.
We've compiled a list of 15 foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure or just want to minimize your chances of getting high blood pressure, using data compiled from WedMD, Healthline.com and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Read on to keep your heart health and happy.
(Warning: This list may include foods you love to eat)
15. Deli Meat
Processed deli and lunch meats you buy to make sandwiches can quickly become a sodium trap.
Deli meats are often cured, seasoned, and preserved with salt to last longer. A two-ounce serving of some lunch meats could contain about 600 milligrams of sodium or more.
When you add the two slices of bread, cheese, some condiments, and pickles, a simple sandwich is no longer so innocent.
14. Chinese Take-out
It's about the sodium. Some food items could contain more than two days' worth of sodium!
Beef with broccoli, which doesn't sound too harmful, packs about 3,200 mg of salt. Ingredients used for cooking the dish, including soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, have about 1,000 mg of sodium in just a single tablespoon. And think about all the oil used to toss around the beef and broccoli. There's a reason why even the sautéed vegetables in Chinese food always look so shiny.
Even soups can be surprisingly unhealthy. A bowl of hot and sour soup at PF Chang's has, get this... 7,980 mg of salt. Wow.
13. Frozen Pizza
It's an easy and inexpensive dinner, right? All you have to do is turn your oven on to 425 degrees, and pop that baby in until the cheese starts to melt and the crust turns golden brown.
But frozen pizzas are bad news if you're watching your sodium intake. The combination of cheese, cured meats, tomato sauce, and crust adds up the milligrams pretty quickly. What's worse is that manufacturers add a lot of salt to preserve all that flavor in the freezer. One serving of frozen pizza can have as much as 1,000 milligrams of sodium, and you know you never have leftover frozen pizza, which means you likely consume way more.
12. Baked Goods
Those packed glossy sweet goods that sometimes come with colorful icing and sprinkles are enticing, but with salted saturated fats, sugar, and sodium-rich leavening agents, they are anything but good for you. Eating too many baked goods frequently like pastries, cakes, and cookies can also lead to obesity, which aggravates the high blood pressure problem further. This is a no.
11. Canned Tomato Products
Both canned tomato sauce and canned tomato juice are loaded with sodium. One cup of tomato juice has 680 milligrams of sodium, while one serving of spaghetti with meat sauce contains 1,300 milligrams of sodium.
To make matters worse, it's hard to only have one serving of tomato sauce because it's even harder to have just one serving of pasta. Most Americans don't know that one serving of pasta is one-half cup of cooked pasta. Restaurants regularly serve four cups of pasta per dish, which is a whopping 8 servings.
10. Red Meat
A big Texas-sized steak with salt for dinner is a no-no.
A healthy eating plan should have only a small amount, if any, of saturated or trans-fats. Fatty foods are bad for both the heart and blood vessels. An 18 oz. ribeye at LongHorn Steakhouse without any sauce has about 1140 calories, 79 grams of fat and 1,500 mg of sodium. Yikes.
Here is a less obvious no-no. It is low in calories and a way to add vegetables to a bratwurst, but it also has over 460 mg of sodium in one serving.
Go without the condiment on your hot dog. Better yet, don't get a hot dog either since it's a processed meat containing nitrates and frequently high in sodium. Maybe then it would eliminate the sauerkraut-eating opportunity -- maybe.
8. Ramen Noodles
Ramen noodles, cup noodles or any another pre-packaged noodle meal is popular among college students and lazy adults but highly damaging to your body.
One package of generic ramen noodles contains 14 grams of fat and a whopping 1,580 mg of sodium. The tiny flavor packet that comes with it is the major culprit, containing most of the sodium.
Everybody loves happy hour, but alcohol consumption actively causes blood pressure to elevate. It also damages the walls of the blood vessels while simultaneously increasing risks of further complications, making it a horrible choice for adults with high blood pressure.
Don't do it. Beer bellies aren't cute.
To be quite frank, bacon is mostly fat. Three slices have 4.5 grams of fat and about 270 mg of sodium, and most people eat way more than that at breakfast or in those B.L.T. sandwiches.
It's tough being a meat lover these days, isn't it?
Oh no! The donuts you love are indeed one of the foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure or just want to be a healthy person. The ring-shaped fried dough snack is worse than many other snacks in the market. And no, you can't just have one because one donut can have more than 300 calories with 42% fat and 54% carbs.
Being fried, it contains lots of saturated and trans fats -- more trans fat than peanut butter, chocolate bars or even chips. For all of these reasons and more, donuts need to be avoided for a healthy heart.
4. Frozen Pot Pies
A single serving of pot pie equals about 1,400 mg of sodium in addition to about 35 grams of fat. That's more than 50% of your daily recommended intake for both, and in one serving. The fat also includes trans fat, which needs to be eliminated from your diet completely, and an unhealthy dose of saturated fat.
Clear out your freezer and say no to pre-packaged frozen meals.
3. Whole Milk
Didn't expect to see this one on the list, did you?
Milk is a great source of calcium, but high-fat dairy sources, like whole milk, provides you more fat than you need. One cup serving of whole milk has about 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of which are saturated. Saturated fats are worse for you than other types and has been linked to heart disease.
Try using 2% milk or, even better, 1% or skim.
2. Canned Chicken Noodle Soup
The perfect food for those cold rainy days is far from perfect for people with high blood pressure. On average, a cup of canned chicken noodle soup contains as much as 760 mg of sodium.
Eat an entire can, which makes about two and a half servings, will have you gulping down 1,800 mg of sodium.
The crunchy, low-calorie snack is a great complement to your sandwich order except for the fact that it's loaded with sodium.
Three medium pickles, about 3.75 inches long, can have about 2,355 mg of sodium, more than the recommended sodium limit of 2,300 mg for an entire day.
Would you avoid these foods for a healthier heart? Do you agree with the foods on this list? Let us know your feedback in the comments section below.
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Great Read: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4-Weeks
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