Worst Foods for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is unfortunately common at menopause, and there can be a number of reasons for it but some foods can make it worse.


Up to 50% of women will develop high blood pressure before the age of 60, and the changes in hormone levels during menopause can lead to weight gain.

Diet definitely also plays in to the equation, and so preventive measures are the most effective. If you want a natural way to reduce your risk, here are some suggestions.

1. Eating out

The issue with many take away or restaurant meals is the salt content.  For example shrimp fried rice might be your favourite, but it’s likely full of sodium so look for low-salt menu option.

Try other flavours instead, like lemon juice on fish and vegetables. Most adults should eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day – that’s one teaspoon.

2. Frozen meals

They’re fast and convenient but again they’re also loaded with sodium, so it’s best to avoid them.

If you need something quick every once in a while, look for options with 600 milligrams of sodium or less.

3. Salty snacks

Salt helps the body retain water, so consuming too much salt can lead to extra fluid buildup. The result is swelling, typically in the face, hands, feet and ankles and unfortunately most crisps, crackers, and popcorn are high in sodium.

Aim for  low or no-salt nuts, seeds or crisps when cravings hit or try fresh carrots or celery sticks for a satisfying crunch.

4. Pickled foods 

Kimchi, sauerkraut, and other pickled or brined foods often pack plenty of salt. Three ounces of pickle juice has about 900 milligrams, depending on the brand.

Try to limit the amount of pickled foods you eat or try marinades made from vinegar, pineapple juice, or citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges. They add a tart flavor with less salt.

5. Bread

You wouldn’t think so from the taste, but it can have plenty of salt. One slice of white bread has between 80 and 230 milligrams, but other varieties will have less so always read the label.

The next time you make a sandwich use wholegrain bread, a muffin, or a tortilla wrap  to cut back on salt. You can also eat your sandwich “open-faced” with just one slice.

6. Soup

It’s delicious  but it’s often high in salt so if using canned or ready made always check the salt content and look for low salt eversions.

Even better make your own and use low salt stock cubes and herbs and spices to bring out the flavour rather than a lot of salt.

7. Tomato juice

Tinned or bottled  tomato juice can again be very high in salt so check the label and look for low-salt versions.

8. Processed meat

They are certainly handy for a snack or salad or sandwich making, but they again can be very high in salt.

Processed meats to limit include hot dogs, corned beef, bacon, and sausage. Add salt pork, ham hocks, and spareribs to the list, too.

Better options are  fish, chicken, and lean cuts of meat.

9. Pizza

A very satisfying occasional treat, but that cheese topping is going to be high in salt, as well any added processed meats such as ham or salami.

To cut back, order a smaller pizza and avoid the stuffed crust option, instead go for thin crust and more vegetables for even more health benefits.

10. Alcohol

Your chances of high blood pressure go up when you drink too much alcohol and women are advised to stick to just one a day.

Alcohol increases blood levels of the hormone renin, which causes the blood vessels to constrict which means that they get smaller in diameter. Renin also decreases how much fluid the body eliminates as urine and it is this combination of higher fluid levels in the body and smaller blood vessels increases blood pressure

Red wine has been linked to heart health, but you should still limit the amount you drink.

11. Cheese

According to the Department of Health cheese is the third biggest contributor of salt to the UK diet after bacon and bread.

Some types are more likely to raise your blood pressure than others so go for those that are naturally low in salt.

If you are a fan of blue cheese like Stilton it will need to be an occasional treat and a small portion as it has a fat content of 35 per cent (23 per cent saturated) and nearly 2g of salt per 100g.

Regularly include low salt options such as goat, ricotta, cottage cheese and fresh mozzarella and check for low salt versions in the supermarket.

12. Condiments

If you are a regular user of ketchup, soy sauce, and salad dressing then these are all high in salt.

Shop for low-salt substitutes of make your own with  lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar as there are plenty of easy recipes online.

Helpful information: 

Taking control of your diet is important and the lowered hormone levels at menopause can have long-term effects not just on your blood pressure.

High blood pressure is linked to an increased risk for heart attack and at menopause more than one in three women has some form of cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is the leading killer of women so doing all you can to reduce that risk by controlling blood pressure through diet and exercise will all help.

Checking your blood pressure is also a good idea on a regular basis, either with your doctor or a monitor at home.

If you want to know more the following article will help too.