Lowering Blood Pressure: It's a 2-Step Process
Making the right choices is key
Remember, though, that the salt shaker is usually responsible for only about
15% of the sodium in your diet. Most comes from processed and canned foods, so
pass up these foods in favor of fresh ones -- usually those located around the
perimeter of the grocery store.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help lower your blood pressure and
reduce your risk of heart disease, research has found. The healthy
antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins and minerals found in fruits and
vegetables work to help control blood pressure. It's probably the abundance of
potassium and the decreased sodium that comes with a diet rich in fruits and
vegetables that makes the difference.
Not only will fruits and vegetables help your blood pressure, but, according
to The American Cancer Society, five servings of them a day can help prevent
cancer. Clearly, fruits and vegetables are good for you in more ways than your
mother ever dreamed of!
The Eating Plan
So if your blood pressure is a concern, the bottom line is to select from a
wide variety of foods within your eating plan, limit alcohol, and get five
servings a day of fruits and vegetables -- and, of course, keep salt to a
Here are more tips for keeping your salt intake down while following your
- When making choices within food groups, select fresh or frozen instead of
canned foods whenever possible.
- Use low-sodium versions of canned foods and other packaged foods such as
- Avoid canned, smoked and processed meats, like cold cuts, hot dogs and
- Use herbs, spices, vinegars, fruits, and vegetables to add extra flavor to
- Avoid condiments high in sodium, like soy sauce, pickles and olives.
- Select frozen entrees with less than 800 milligrams of sodium.
- Avoid salty snacks like potato chips, nuts, and crackers.
- Check the labels on processed cheeses, and choose lower-sodium