- Posted October 5, 2013 by
High Blood Pressure Quick Tips
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects millions of people. It’s true that certain risk factors are out of your control, but there are key diet changes you can make to help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range—one of which is watching your salt intake. Here our experts provide quick diet tips to keep your blood pressure numbers looking good, including how to know how much sodium you’re eating and how you can cut back.
Wash Excess Sodium Down The Drain
Most of the sodium in our diets—approximately 77%—comes from prepared or processed foods, but sometimes using convenience items, like canned beans and tuna, can make it easier to eat more healthfully and cook healthy recipes. The good news: rinsing those canned foods will remove much of their sodium.
Spice It Up
To prevent hypertension and boost flavor, cut back on sodium by using more herbs, spices and salt-free seasoning blends when cooking healthy meals. Not sure where to start? Add lemon juice or vinegar to homemade tomato sauce; the acidity will impart a sensation similar to salt. Or, experiment with herbes de Provence or fines herbes—two sodium-free French spice blends—when cooking meat, poultry or your tomato sauce.
Scan Sodium Counts On Condiments
When you think of salty foods, it’s likely that canned chicken soup and frozen pizza—not ketchup and salsa—come to mind. But many condiments, including meat tenderizer, steak sauce, soy sauce, salsa and ketchup, pack high doses of sodium. If you’re watching your blood pressure, read labels and look for “low sodium” products.
Box Out Salt
Avoid boxes of flavored rices, pastas and soups: they often contain lots of added salt. Also, when you prepare these grains or starches from scratch, skip the step of adding salt to the water. Add flavor later with herbs and spices.
Just Try It
Don’t cook foods with salt; add it at the table instead, after you've tasted a bite. Maybe it doesn't need any additional salt.
Green Up Your Diet
Low levels of magnesium in the body are associated with vasoconstriction—tightening of the arteries—making a smaller passageway for blood to flow and, subsequently, increasing blood pressure. Leafy greens, whole grains, a wide assortment of beans and halibut are great sources of magnesium.