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Menu to Control Blood Pressure
Changing your diet can make a difference in controlling blood pressure. It does not require special diet foods, just incorporating healthy foods and eating less salt. The sodium in salt plays a key role in raising blood pressure. This in turn increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and possibly dementia.
The Sodium Challenge
Decreasing sodium can be challenging due to the desire for flavor, the need for convenience or budget constraints.
Most sodium comes from prepared and processed foods. However surprising sources include: bread, pizza, soup, cold cuts, poultry products and sandwiches.
The daily sodium goal is 1500 mg or less. It’s best to gradually reduce sodium intake, as the “taste” for salt will change given time.
Tips to Lower Sodium Intake
- Focus on Whole Fresh Foods - most foods in their natural form are low in sodium.
- Try New Flavors - use spices & herbs instead of salt in cooking or at the table.
- Caution with Condiments - use oil & vinegar instead of commercial dressings on salads.
- Limit Processed and Prepared Foods – lunch meats, canned soups and instant noodles are some of the highest sources of sodium.
- Check the Nutrition Facts Label - compare the amount of sodium and choose products with lower amounts.
Key Foods to Blood Pressure Control
- Vegetables and Fruits – are naturally high in potassium which counters the effects of sodium. Produce is also packed with other minerals, vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients. Make half your plate vegetables at lunch & dinner.
- Whole Grains – are an excellent source of fiber and rich in minerals. Be mindful of portions and sodium content.
- Nonfat or 1% Low Fat Dairy Products – are rich in potassium, calcium and protein. Select reduced fat since regular products are high in saturated fat.
- Lean Protein – choose fish at least twice a week such as salmon, herring or trout to boost omega 3-fats. Include poultry (no skin) and lean red meats, to minimize saturated fats.
- Fats – focus on mono and polyunsaturated fats such as avocado and olive oil. Keep saturated fats low, and avoid trans fats. Moderation is key when it comes to all types of fat.
- Sugar – limit added sugars, sweets and sugar sweetened beverages.
You can make a difference in your blood pressure with smart lifestyle choices which include: an overall healthy eating pattern, reducing sodium intake and being active.
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