Suffering from Stress? Add Fruits and Vegetables to your Diet
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, nothing is really better for you than that. They’re full of fiber and lots of nutritious elements that contribute to the process of lowering your blood pressure.
But let’s talk about meat – a central item to many people’s meals, even if it is only supposed to resemble a side dish portion. If you can, try to add a few meatless days into your weekly menu planning.
The meat substitute products on the market now are very flavorful, such as the soy-based crumbles as a substitute for hamburger meat tacos. Just make sure you choose low sodium taco seasoning, low fat or skim cheese, and add avocados and tomatoes on top for a perfect blood pressure friendly meal!
If you eat meats like beef and chicken, then make sure you go for lean cuts. They cost a little more, but that’s okay – because you shouldn’t be eating a huge platter of meat when trying to lower blood pressure anyway. A small 5-ounce filet mignon plated with plenty of vegetables and whole grain rice is a perfect pairing.
Sugar is just as much a culprit in boosting your blood pressure as salt is. Try cutting back on sodas if you drink them throughout the day. Studies show that even cutting out 6 ounces (that’s half a can) from your consumption of sodas has a positive effect on your blood pressure.
Scientists haven’t yet nailed out the exact reason why sugar contributes to increased blood pressure readings, but it could be because sugar causes your body to hold onto salt, and salt has a direct effect on your hypertension diagnosis.
Try cutting back on sugar to see what kind of effect it has on your own personal blood pressure readings. Switch to dietary sugar options or just moderate your consumption of sugar.
Rev Up Your Fiber Intake
People who don’t eat enough fiber often suffer from diabetes and heart disease. Alternatively, those who up their fiber intake see a reduction in high blood pressure numbers.
Not all fiber is the same – there’s soluble and insoluble fiber (soluble dissolves in water, but insoluble absorbs the water). You need both in your diet. Studies have shown that your systolic (top number) blood pressure can be reduced by eating more insoluble fiber (like whole wheat or brown rice), and the bottom number is lowered with any type of fiber additions.
Soluble fiber is found in barley and oats, fruit (both dried and fresh), and legumes. Insoluble fiber can be taken in
through the addition of whole grains and wheat foods – as well as some vegetable choices.
So for this step, don’t look at what has to be cut out of your diet – look at what you get to add into your daily meals – things like:
|· Fresh vegetables||· Whole wheat bread, rolls, pasta, or muffins|
|· Almonds||· Whole grain cereal|
|· Grits||· Popcorn|
|· Oatmeal||· Beans|
|· Brown rice||· Pretzels|
One word of advice, though. While you want to make fast changes to your blood pressure readings, adding too much too soon to your diet in the way of fiber might cause you to suffer an upset stomach. People have reported bloating whenever they upped their fiber intake dramatically all at once.
Easing Into the Dietary Mindset
When you’re diagnosed with a health condition and are told you have to make changes, the rigid restrictions can be very depressing. Food is a part of our cultural activities, it provides comfort – and we enjoy it!
Think of this task as what you have to add, rather than what you have to cut out. If you’re adding more whole grains and fruit, you won’t be hungry for more sugar-laden or salt-heavy carbs – it’s a nice side effect.
But do become aware of what you’re putting into your body, because some of the things that help this silent killer are snuck into your food sources where you wouldn’t even think they would be lurking.
We’re Here for You!
Yes, there’s a lot to learn about living well with high blood pressure. Getting in control might take some time. It’s going to mean making some changes in your life, but you can start with small changes, and you don’t have to make them all at once. And you don’t have to do it alone. If you aren’t on our mailing list and would like to keep up with what we are learning, sign up below. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and ask. I’m here to help!