There is a prevailing idea that nutritional management of high pressure revolves solely around reducing sodium intake. And while it is true that most Americans eat far more sodium than is considered ideal, this remains a hotly debated topic.
Recommendations for sodium consumption range from 2500 mg-3000 mg per day while the average Americans consume more than 4000-5000 mg a day. This is a concern!
Poorly regulated blood pressure (BP) puts extra stress and strain on the body that could result in medical complications including strokes, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
But wait, before you run to your kitchen pantry and toss out all of your salt shakers, please know that salt is an essential element to cooking and baking. Leaving salt out of your recipes will likely translate to your taste buds as bland and uninteresting which means you are likely to end a meal feeling unsatisfied and waning more.
Do not worry, most of the sodium Americans are consuming are not coming from the salt shaker anyway. Sodium hides in abundance in most packaged, processed and frozen foods.
So, one powerful strategy to managing your blood pressure is to simply cook more foods at home. Simple and uncomplicated foods such as pan seared salmon with garlicky greens are one of my favorite 5-ingredient 15-minute meals.
Nutritional Strategies To Manage High blood Pressure
For some, the message of reduction can be hard to swallow. Do not let this be the only nutritional tool in your tool box in managing your high blood pressure.
Now that you are thinking more about cooking and eating at home, there are certain EAT MORE nutrients that make it fun and enjoyable to manage your health. These nutrients are potassium and magnesium.
Add Potassium Rich Foods To Your Diet
Savvy label readers may already be aware that daily values for potassium will be listed on the new food label. Why? Because science recognizes the role that potassium plays in helping to manage blood pressure.
It is a good day for nutritionists when our conversation with our patients are centered around eat more, as opposed to eat less. Here are some of my favorite potassium rich foods and some great ideas about how to get them to your table.
- Coconut Water – Sip over ice or use as the liquid base in a smoothie.
- Beets – Enjoy these roasted or shredded raw on a salad.
- Bok Choy – An interesting addition to a salad or stir-fry.
Increase Your Dietary Intake Of Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium rich foods also act to maintain blood pressure by relaxing your central nervous system. Go ahead, add more of these to your diet too. Some great options are:
- Raw Pumpkin Seeds – Toss them on a salad or your morning oatmeal.
- Avocados – A nourishing creamy sandwich spread or base to a salad dressing.
- Brazil Nuts – These underrated nuts pack a big nutritional punch. Toasted Brazil nuts are a great oatmeal topper.
Mindful Eating – A Non-Edible Culinary Strategy To Prevent BP
If you are looking for a non-edible culinary strategy to manage blood pressure, consider the value of ‘mindful eating’. Like other mindfulness-based practices, mindful eating is about slowing down and living in the moment.
It is about switching from on the go (aka fight and flight) to rest and digest. We know that taking the time to unwind has a positive impact on managing blood pressure. Given that most of us are eating 3-5 times per day, meal times are a natural pause to distress.
A simple mindful meal tool is to pause before digging in, take a deep intentful breath. Notice your hunger, become aware of the look and smell of the meal. Possibly chew on a moment of gratitude about something in your day.
5 Tools To Get Rid Of High Blood Pressure
Build a hypertension culinary toolkit that focuses on food as protection. The following tools will get you off to a great start. Adding color, flavor, and fun to your blood pressure management!
- Keep the flavor in your food by keeping the salt in your recipes.
- Cook more foods at home, from scratch.
- Get rid of hidden sodium by keeping processed foods out of the house.
- Eat more potassium and magnesium rich foods.
- Rest and digest with mindful meal time practices.
Find the joy in adding foods to your everyday diet that will help you manage your blood pressure in a most delicious way. In addition to being mindful about sodium consumption, these foods add even better protection against hypertension.