Establishing a Diet of Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
Because food plays a very specific role in patients with high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), it is very important to know how to choose foods that lower blood pressure. Since the condition of hypertension is becoming a growing epidemic, making healthy diet choices not only helps to reduce your weight, it also helps to reduce your total daily sodium intake, which in turn lowers blood pressure numbers.
The key to being successful in your food choices is to select a diet that you can easily maintain, one that does not make you feel as though you are depriving yourself and one that includes plenty of choices of foods that lower blood pressure. It is a good rule of thumb to stick to the recommended daily allowance of 2,300 milligrams or less of salt per day.
While the words “diet” and “dieting” may strike fear into the hearts of many, and often carry negative connotations, it is important to understand that consuming foods that lower blood pressure and a low sodium diet does not have to be torture. In fact, all it takes is a shift in your way of thinking, and some simple substitutions.
Let’s begin by taking a look at some of the most popular foods that lower blood pressure, which should be eaten on a regular basis
- Whole grains;
- Various types of breads, bagels, English muffins, pita bread, and dinner rolls;
- Low sodium, low sugar, varieties of packaged cereals;
- Rice that is plain and plain noodles; stay away from prepackaged rice and noodle mixes;
- Fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, and canned vegetables that do not contain added salt;
- Fresh fruit, frozen fruit, and canned fruit;
- Low sodium varieties of soups and other canned goods;
- Coconut oil and vegan margarine’s (double check the margarine to make sure it does not contain high amounts of added salt);
- Most types of herbs and spices such as onion powder, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, pepper, vinegar, and basil (steer clear of “salt blends” as they can contain a good deal of sodium).
Now let’s take a look at the items that did not make the foods that lower blood pressure list. These are things that should be avoided completely, or eaten in very small amounts.
- All cuts of meat;
- Lean dairy products, especially those that are made of skim milk and/or fat free;
- Turkey and chicken, especially the white meat with or without the skin removed;
- Fresh or frozen varieties of fish;
- Meats that are cured or smoked including hot dogs, bacon, pastrami, corned beef, ham, bologna, sausage, and various other types of lunch meats;
- Fish that is canned such as tuna, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and salmon. When fish is canned in a brine solution or other salted solution, it should be rinsed before consuming;
- Various types of cheese, and dairy spreads;
- Salty packaged snack foods such as chips, nuts, pretzels, pork rinds, and popcorn;
- Buttermilk, which is contains a good amount of sodium;
- Prepackaged quick cook meals such as frozen meats and dinners, pizza, pot pies, and breakfast items. If you choose to eat these foods, opt for versions that are lower in sodium;
- Condiments such as soy sauce, garlic salt, steak sauce, onion salt, meat tenderizer, barbeque sauce, monosodium glutamate (MSG), ketchup, and bouillon cubes;
- Canned vegetables that are not sodium free, or those that are packaged in brine or salted solutions. If you do purchase these foods, always rinse them adequately prior to eating;
- Canned or instant soups that are not reduced sodium;
- Foods that are pickled such as pickles, olives, relish, pickled herring, and sauerkraut.
While these lists give you a good place to start on your journey to choosing foods that lower blood pressure, it is necessary to note it is not exhaustive. It will take a bit of time to get used to your new way of eating, a life style change, but in the long run, the results will be well worth the effort.