High blood pressure: Foods to cut down on if you want to lower your reading

By | November 25, 2018

High blood pressure is difficult to spot because symptoms don’t necessarily always show.

To find out if you have high blood pressure the best way is to have your blood pressure checked.

Recognising symptoms if they do occur can also help you identify the condition. These include headaches shortness of breath, dizziness and chest pain.

One of the best ways to prevent the condition, and to control it, is to cut down on certain foods in your diet.

In order to know which foods to cut down on, Blood Pressure UK recommends using the green light code.

It explains: “The food traffic lights are always listed in the same order on a food’s label: fats, saturated fats, sugar and salt.

“The lights also tell you the amounts of the ingredients in 100g or 100ml of the food or in a single serving (if a recommended serving is more than 100g or 100ml).

“The amount in a single serving or portion is particularly useful if the food is a ready meal or soft drink where you will be consuming much more than 100g or 100ml and it will make up a major part of your daily food intake.”

  • Green means ‘eat freely’
  • Amber means ‘eat in moderation’
  • Red beans ‘eat sparingly’

The blood pressure charity adds: “So if a food has a red light, it is something you should be trying to cut down on. There’s no need to avoid it entirely, but it should only be a treat, eaten in smaller amounts or eaten only occasionally.

“An amber light is an okay choice most of the time, but you should try to go for foods with a green light for that ingredient some of the time.

“A green light, it is low in that ingredient. The more green lights a food has, the healthier it is.

“When you go shopping, you will be buying many foods, all with different mixes of green, amber and red lights. The best thing is to get the overall balance right by choosing as many greens and ambers as possible.”

Salt and salty foods should be limited in any healthy, balanced diet, but there are seven foods that might surprise you with their salt content, according to the British Heart Foundation. 

Cheese and butter

Adding extras after cooking can not only add calories and saturated fat, but also salt, says the charity.

It adds: “Avoid adding butter to ‘finish’ sauces or grated cheese to top your dishes and you will avoid the salt that can come with them – and help your waistline too.”


Sauces, such as ketchup, can add flavour to your meals but are often high in salt.

It says: “ You need to be sparing – and remember that you won’t need to add salt at the table as well.”

Salty spreads

Spreading fats like margarine can contain added salt, so it’s advised you read the nutritional information on the label.

Salty nibbles

Capers, anchovies and olives will likely add salt to food.

It recommends: “Using non-salty flavourings is a better way to keep the taste up when you are cutting down on salt. Herbs, spices, lemon, garlic and black pepper are all good choices.


Salt is often added to dough or sprinkled on top of a freshly baked loaf. The addition of olives in some bread can also spell trouble.

It advises: “Read the nutrition information before buying, as there’s a lot of variation between different breads.”


Be wary of potatoes when eating out. Jacket potatoes may have been rubbed with salt before making or salt may have been sprinkled on chips before being served to you.

Sweet surprises

A salted caramel cupcake may sound and taste delicious but this is an example of adding salt in something that was previously salt-free.

It says: “You might be surprised at the amount of salt in sweet foods like biscuits and cakes. Make sure you look at food labels.”

Daily Express :: Health Feed