High blood pressure is a frightening disease because it has few symptoms yet puts people at great risk of heart disease or stroke. Huge numbers of people have been diagnosed (up to 75 million in the United States alone) but many more have hypertension and don’t know it.
High blood pressure is quite manageable with diet and lifestyle changes, so don’t despair if you have been given (or even just suspect) this diagnosis.
1. Avoid Sugar and Salt
Sorry, but these two tasty food enhancers are major factors in hypertension. You will need to limit your intake of sugar and salt, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat only bland food for the rest of your life.
In general, a healthy person should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. When it comes to sugar, the main concern is avoiding “added” sugar. Our bodies need sugar to function properly, but most of it should come from sources like whole fruit rather than candy or even juice.
The American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of added sugar no higher than 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) for men and 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for women.
2. Canned Beans
Canned vegetables, especially beans, are high in sodium because it is used to extend shelf life. Beans that you buy dry and then soak and cook are actually a very healthy meal choice due to their protein, fibre, and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Adding beans to your meal can help keep your blood sugar steady, too. If you must eat canned beans, you can remove up to 41% of the sodium content by rinsing them in a colander before preparing.
3. Cooked Tomato Products
Have you ever noticed how different home grown tomatoes taste than the ones you buy at the store?
That’s because tomatoes grown on a huge scale are typically modified to be firmer so that they can remain unbruised throughout picking, shipping, and stacking on the shelf. This also makes them quite bland.
That’s why canned and jarred tomato products need so much sodium to make your sauce, ketchup, and paste palatable. Making tomato-based foods and condiments at home with quality tomatoes is actually quite easy and you can enjoy the flavour you crave with a fraction of the salt.