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4 Worst Meats for Blood Pressure, Says Dietitian

Avoid these types of meats if your blood pressure is high, because they'll only make it worse.

It's normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day. However, if it remains high for too long, it may damage your heart and cause other health problems. For example, having severe high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the United States. If you want to avoid these risks, it's important to keep your blood pressure in a safe range.

Aside from medication, there are other ways to lower blood pressure, such as amping up your exercise as well as changing your diet, both by watching what you drink and eat. If you don't know where to begin making changes, let's start with the meat section. We talked to Lisa R. Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and The Portion Teller Plan, regarding the worst meats you should avoid to lower your blood pressure.

Deli meats

deli meats

Easy to pick up at your local delicatessen or the deli counter of your grocery store, deli meats are a common household food. You can use them to make quick, easy, and tasty sandwiches. However, convenience isn't always better.

"Deli meats are highly processed and full of sodium and often contain a preservative sodium nitrate," says Dr. Young. "Nitrates have been linked to heart disease. Excessive sodium (salt) is linked to hypertension."

In research published by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, those who consumed nitrates more than others ran a greater risk of major cardiovascular problems than those who consumed less. Furthermore, in another article published in the Nutrients Journal, several studies showed that consuming lots of sodium is associated with a great risk of hypertension (also known as high blood pressure).


bacon cooking in pan

A very popular breakfast meat, one strip of bacon may skyrocket your blood pressure.

"Bacon is loaded with sodium as well as nitrates which may elevate blood pressure," says Dr. Young.

One strip of bacon calculates to about 115 milligrams of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends that those who have high blood pressure don't consume more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Although that's a little over 7% of the recommended amount, that can add up easily. And instead of one strip of bacon, it turns into two, three, or four. Think about the next time you eat a bacon, lettuce, and tomato (BLT) sandwich. See how many slices you eat.

Fast food

fast food assortment and soda

Fast food chains normally get a negative rep for all the unhealthy food they sell. Although they have become better at selling healthier food options, you still need to watch out for some menu items. Especially, when you're watching your blood pressure.

Specifically, Dr. Young recommends staying away from cheeseburgers and fried chicken sandwiches.

"These are full of sodium along with fat and calories, all of which can contribute to high blood pressure," says Dr. Young.

5 Fast-Food Items With Exorbitant Amounts of Sodium

Hot dogs

Raw hot dog

Looks like these barbecue classics should be taken off the grill.

"Hot dogs are highly processed meat and high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure," says Dr. Young.

One hot dog contains 424 milligrams of sodium, that's about 28% of your daily recommended intake if you have high blood pressure, which is a lot for a small piece of meat. Instead, if you're feeling the need to barbecue, stick to a hamburger, where a cooked ground beef patty is only roughly 78 milligrams of sodium.

Nonetheless, if you have, or are at risk of, high blood pressure, it's best to keep these meats away from your diet. Because although they might seem small in size, they make a larger impact than you might think!

Kayla Garritano
Kayla Garritano graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and double minored in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more about Kayla