When you sit down to your Thanksgiving feast, will high blood pressure be a concern? The overindulgence of many sodium-rich Thanksgiving foods is likely to increase your blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition that affects about 75 million American adults, or one in every three adults. Many people have high blood pressure and aren’t even aware they have it.
Your blood pressure is a combination of diastolic and systolic pressure. Diastolic pressure is when the heart is at rest, whereas systolic pressure represents blood pressure when the heart is beating. High blood pressure has a systolic pressure reading of 140 mmHg (millimeter of mercury) or higher and a diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg and above.
Unless your Thanksgiving feast is entirely homemade, some of the high-sodium processed foods that complement your turkey are likely going to raise blood pressure in patients with hypertension. When you consume a high quantity of salt-heavy foods, this increases the amount of sodium in your bloodstream. As a result, there is an imbalance of bodily fluids that blocks the kidneys’ ability to remove water from the body through urination.
The kidneys play an important part in blood pressure management. When the kidneys fail to remove excess water from the body, the extra fluid and blood vessel strain leads the blood pressure to increase.
Lower Salt and Avoid These Foods This Thanksgiving to Keep Your Hypertension in Check
If you have hypertension, it is very important to limit your sodium or salt consumption to avoid high levels of blood pressure.
Some people suggest the average American will consume more than 2,000 mg of sodium during Thanksgiving dinner. This is important, since the dietary guidelines for sodium recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day as part of a healthy diet plan. The limit is 1,500 mg of daily sodium for those 50 or older and anyone with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and hypertension.
That being said, sodium isn’t always the enemy. Sodium is a valuable mineral for transporting other nutrients to balance fluids and help transmit nerve impulses. Although cutting high-sodium packaged and processed foods from the diet is a good idea, mineral-rich natural coarse sea salt and Himalayan pink salt may actually reduce incidences of high blood pressure.
Some of the high-sodium Thanksgiving foods to limit include dinner rolls, store-bought cranberry sauce, and high-sodium broth that may also be used for the turkey gravy. Many processed sauces are also likely high in sodium.
Besides high-sodium foods with salt, we will also highlight less obvious Thanksgiving foods that raise blood pressure. There are actually many Thanksgiving foods to avoid for high blood pressure.
What foods should be avoided for a low-sodium Thanksgiving? Let’s take a look at the list…
1. Red Meat
It is best to stick with an oven-baked turkey for Thanksgiving. This is because packaged meats and certain red meats are thought to be higher in salt and fat than turkey. At the same time, it is a good idea to purchase a grass-fed, organic turkey right form your local farmer.
You will also want to avoid high-sodium pickles or olives. Packaged foods like these are loaded with sodium. Since both olives and pickles are sodium sponges, it is best to avoid these at big Thanksgiving meals.
3. Canned Soups and Veggies
Canned soups and vegetables also contain hidden amounts of added sodium. Some canned soups can have nearly 900 mg of sodium in just a half-cup serving. If you consume the entire can, you’ll be taking in over 2,000 mg of sodium.
If you can’t get fresh vegetables or soups, it is better to purchase low-sodium and reduced-sodium canned soups, broths, and vegetable products.
4. Pies and Other Desserts
Traditional Thanksgiving desserts like pumpkin pie will contain nearly a quarter of the daily recommended sodium intake. In fact, processed and added sugar and baked goods have also been linked to hypertension.
Many store-bought cranberry sauces are also high in sugar; therefore, making your own for Thanksgiving is a better idea.
5. Alcohol and Caffeine
Do you indulge in lots of alcohol at Thanksgiving dinner? Or instead, maybe you finish your meal with caffeine-heavy tea, coffee, or a cappuccino. Too much caffeine can cause an increase in blood pressure, while alcohol will narrow arteries and eventually increase blood pressure.
6. High-Fat Products
Trans fats and omega-6 fats found in conventional meats and packaged foods are known to increase inflammation and increase blood pressure. Hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, and saturated fats also cause hypertension, and place a terrible burden on the heart and arteries.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Steady This Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving foods should not lead to high blood pressure. It is important to take away from this article that, although Thanksgiving should be enjoyed, it is a good idea to avoid certain foods that can increase blood pressure, especially those already suffering with hypertension.
What foods should be included for a low-sodium Thanksgiving? To help control high blood pressure, Thanksgiving dinner should instead contain foods known to reduce hypertension. The meal overall should boast lots of high-fiber vegetables like spinach, celery, and broccoli. Omega-3 rich foods like flaxseed and chia seed can also reduce blood pressure when added to dessert puddings.
Dark chocolate is another good dessert option for lowering blood pressure. Garlic, onions, and other spices also not only flavor your meal, but also help lower high blood pressure. Also, try adding sesame oil and olive oil to salads or vegetables.
Overall, your blood pressure-lowering Thanksgiving diet should focus on lean protein like the turkey, organic produce, and healthy fats like olive oil and flaxseed. You can also balance blood pressure by making your own sides like the cranberry sauce and turkey gravy.
Also Read :
- Your Ultimate Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Guide
- How to Lower Blood Pressure in Minutes
- Let’s Talk Turkey! The Health Benefits of a Thanksgiving Turkey
- Tips for Avoiding Thanksgiving Day Stress
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