By Julie Christensen
You probably know that you should limit your sodium intake if you have high blood pressure, but did you know that limiting sugar is a good idea too? Uncontrolled blood sugar has been linked to a host of problems, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Looking for healthy recipe ideas to help deal with high blood pressure? Read on.
Several dietary changes can have a major impact on your blood pressure, according to Lawrence Appel, M.D., a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. In a 1997 study, Dr. Appel found that dietary changes reduced high blood pressure by an average 11.4 points (systolic) and 5.5 points (diastolic).
Specifically, the diet Appel recommends, known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), calls for more fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Dr. Appel encourages patients to reduce their intake of red meat, sugary drinks and sweets, as well as sodium and alcohol.
In addition to its benefits for regulating blood pressure, this diet has also been found to lower cholesterol levels, cut weight and may even help reduce your risk of certain types of cancer. Participants in the study saw dramatic changes in their blood pressure, in as little as two weeks. Additionally, most patients lost an average of 13 pounds over six months. We’ve rounded up some of the best recipes around to help you with a lifestyle that might lower your blood pressure, without skimping on taste. Make a commitment today to better health and lower blood pressure. Always follow your doctor’s instructions if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal. Start the day off with old-fashioned oatmeal, yogurt and fruit. This recipe from The Yummy Life couldn’t be simpler. In fact, it doesn’t even require cooking. Simply combine oatmeal, fruit, yogurt and milk and refrigerate overnight. The addition of chia seeds makes this recipe even better. Chia seeds are packed with protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain fiber and help you feel fuller longer.
Fruit and Veggie Smoothie. So you don’t love vegetables. You’re not alone, but smoothies are a painless, delicious way to incorporate more veggies into your diet. When combined with fruit and a little water, yogurt or milk, you’ll never know they’re there. Try this flexible recipe from Incredible Smoothies. If you like to make up your own smoothie, here’s a great list of superfoods to experiment with.
Egg and Asparagus Omelet. The fresh lemony taste of asparagus pairs perfectly with eggs in this delicious breakfast dish from Epicurious. Parmesan cheese is notoriously high in sodium and fat. Opt for a low-fat version or add just a tablespoon.
Roasted Vegetables. Almost any vegetable tastes better roasted. Roasting brings out a smoky sweetness and tender texture you never knew existed. Visit Food Network for a round-up of roasted vegetable recipes. How about roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus or winter squash? Delicious!
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. Speaking of roasted vegetables, how about roasted tomato soup? Forget sodium-laden canned soup, and opt for this fresh, delicious recipe from Ina Garten instead. It goes together in less than 20 minutes for a hearty, healthy lunch or light dinner.
Southwestern Quinoa. The ancient grain quinoa is low in fat and packed with protein. It has a mild, nutty taste that pairs well with almost any ingredient. Use it as the base for a delicious southwestern salad from Skinnytaste.com. The salad pairs mangos, black beans and corn with a zesty cumin and lime juice dressing.
Salmon Fillet en Papillote. Don’t let the name intimidate you. Salmon en papillote is a French description for salmon packed in parchment paper. And while this classic cooking method from Food Network makes an elegant dinner presentation, it couldn’t be simpler. Simply place a salmon fillet on parchment paper, cover with vegetables and a light sauce. Seal the packet and bake. The moisture created in the packet creates predictably tender results every time, and best of all, there’s no messy pan to wash!
Roasted Chicken and Vegetables. While you should limit your meat intake to lower high blood pressure, the occasional indulgence is okay. This recipe for Roasted Chicken and Vegetables from Martha Stewart is hearty and satisfying, yet healthy. You’ll have enough for leftovers the next day.
Stir-Fry. Asian-inspired dishes are almost always a good choice for the DASH diet. Use low-sodium soy sauce and watch the sugar content in sauces. Load up on fresh vegetables and add meat, especially red meat, sparingly. Visit Food Network for a slew of possibilities.
Julie Christensen learned about gardening on her grandfather’s farm and mother’s vegetable garden in southern Idaho. Today, she lives and gardens on the high plains of Colorado. When she’s not digging in the dirt, Julie writes about food, education, parenting and gardening.