Do you have high blood pressure? Even if you don’t know your blood pressure range, you could be in danger.
In the video below, Amanda Haney talks about ways you can limit your salt intake to lower your blood pressure.
If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.
High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is a silent killer because there are no obvious symptoms. Many people don’t even know if they have it!
When your high blood pressure is poorly controlled, it damages your arteries over time. This leads to an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Fortunately, there are a few simple changes you can make that will have big benefits for your blood pressure and overall health.
1) Fresh is best!
Did you know 75% of salt in our diets come from packaged and processed foods? Therefore, choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead of frozen or canned. Make homemade soups and stews instead of boxed or canned. Choosing fresh foods decreases your salt intake while increasing the nutrients in your diet. This is a win-win situation that your body will thank you for!
2) Have fun with herbs and spices!
Even if you’re cooking with fresh ingredients, you could be getting too much salt from marinades or additions during the cooking process. Herbs and spices will bring exciting new flavors to your favorite dishes without adding extra sodium.
For example, try basil for a sweet flavor in your sauces or pasta dishes. Rosemary will bring an earthy flavor to your meats or marinades. Or dill, which pairs great with lighter dishes like fish, yogurt sauces, and pasta salads.
Most importantly, don’t ruin all your hard work by adding salt to your finished meal right before you eat it. Even one pinch of table salt contains about 400 mg of sodium! In fact, I recommend you remove salt from the table altogether and offer things like cracked pepper or freshly squeezed lemon.
3) Dine smarter.
For quick and easy flavor, many restaurants use tons of salt. Don’t let your meal outings derail your health goals. Instead, choose foods that you already know are low in sodium like lean meats, seafood, and steamed vegetables. Hold the sauces, gravies, and dressings or ask for them on the side so you can be in control of your portion. And don’t be afraid to ask that your meal be prepared salt-free!
4) Read your food labels.
Salt is listed as milligrams of sodium on the nutrition facts panel. The American Heart Association and USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than 2300 mg of salt per day. If you already have high blood pressure, the daily recommended amount is 1500 mg per day. To achieve this target, try to limit your meals to no more than 500mg of sodium.
Overall, consuming a healthy diet is a huge part of prevention and treatment for high blood pressure. Personally, I recommend you eat healthy, exercise regularly, manage your stress, and quit smoking for the greatest benefit to your health. If you have high blood pressure, meet with your registered dietitian today to learn more about decreasing the salt in your diet and making positive changes to keep your heart healthy!