Foods that Lower Blood Pressure


Authored by Samantha Herman in Diseases 
Published on 01-30-2009

High blood pressure, if left untreated for long enough, can kill. It can weaken the heart by overworking it, making one susceptible to heart disease or heart attacks. Overworking the heart can also cause kidney failure, since the blood vessels throughout the body can be damaged by the overworked heart and cease to function as they should. Whenever someone is diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is best to heed warnings from the medical community and make the changes necessary to lower the blood pressure.

A major change that many health professionals will recommend is altering one’s diet. Eating lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish, while avoiding bacon and sausage, will be a boon. Fresh vegetables or frozen are better than canned because, most of the time, a lot of sodium is added during the canning process. The same goes for canned soups, which usually have more than the recommended amount of sodium. Dairy products should be low in fat and sodium, which means switching to skim milk and choosing low-fat cheeses and yogurts. Frozen yogurt, popsicles, and sherbet should replace traditional ice creams. Fruit juices that indicate 100% juice in the ingredient list can replace sodas and sugary drinks.

Many times, it is imperative to change not only what one eats, but also what is put on top of the food being eaten. Spices are a healthy way to add some punch to an otherwise bland dish, but be weary of adding a spice mix that includes salt. Salt is in a lot of prepared and processed foods, but it is the enemy. By purchasing a salt-free spice mix or by creating a spice medley in the kitchen, the extra sodium can be easily avoided. Condiments should be used very sparingly and should be replaced by spices as often as possible.

An easy way to make cooked foods healthier is to use olive oil in place of vegetable oil or butter. If need be, keep a bottle of olive oil next to the stove as a reminder.

It can be extremely challenging to make dietary changes because we become accustomed to having certain foods on a regular basis. Our palates are expecting those same foods when we sit down to a meal, and there will likely be an adjustment period when substitutions are made. However, it is important to put health into perspective. Eating less meat and more vegetables is a small sacrifice to make for the health of our heart. Avoiding fast foods and fried foods is difficult, but not as difficult as recovering from a heart attack or kidney failure would be. As much as we embrace the thought of eating what we want, when we want, it is not practical. Knowledge, self-restraint, and a positive attitude are the best allies to have when fending off high blood pressure.


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