May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month!
High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body, and it’s so dangerous that it’s sometimes called “the silent killer.” Because high blood pressure doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms, it could be wreaking havoc on your arteries, heart, and other organs -- and you would have no idea.
So while you’re going through your daily routine, your untreated high blood pressure could lead to heart attack, heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, and memory loss (among others) over time.
Consult your doctor to make sure your blood pressure reading is in the normal range (less than 120 over 80). In the meantime, you can take preventative measures to avoid developing high blood pressure. One way to do this is by talking with a nutrition coach!
Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our health coaches will work with you and offer effective strategies to keep your blood pressure in check.
One of these strategies is to reduce your salt consumption.
Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. This is because “eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove water. The result is higher blood pressure due to the extra fluid and extra strain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidneys.”
Here’s the good news: there are many ways to decrease your salt intake.
Check out these 8 ways to help lower your blood pressure by cutting the salt!
Read Food Labels
The processed food in many Americans’ diets is often packed with sodium. Even though some of your go-to easy food options may not taste that salty, that doesn’t mean the salt isn’t in there. So be careful! Look for: salt, sodium, sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium nitrite, sodium benzoate, Brine, and Disodium.
There are usually many different brands for a given product--compare brands until you find one with the lowest sodium content (look for low-sodium or no-sodium labels).
Cook Your Meals
If you can, try to make more of your own meals. This way, you’ll know exactly what’s going into the food you’ll be consuming. You can still make very flavorful dishes without using salt--try combining different spices, herbs, and no-salt seasonings.
Rinse Canned Food
Rinsing your canned food before you eat it will wash off some of the added salt.
Request Salt-Free Meals
When dining out, you can ask for your meal to be prepared without salt.
Use Acidic Seasonings
Acidic flavors like lemon, lime, and vinegar can enhance your meal and help bring out your food’s savoriness naturally--no salt needed!
Eat Fresh Meat
If you eat meat, use fresh rather than packaged products (like cold cuts, bacon, and sausage). And again, make sure to read the food labels to ensure the meat isn’t loaded with hidden salt. For example, that chicken breast you’re looking at may have been pumped with salt water to increase the weight, and therefore the price, of the product. Know what you’re buying!
Eat Fresh Produce
Opt for fresh produce, and you won’t have to worry about the sodium preservatives added to canned fruit and veggies. When buying frozen vegetables, avoid packages with added seasonings and sauces--look for “fresh frozen” labels.
What tips do you have for cutting salt from your diet? Share with us in the comments below!
For more ways to lower your blood pressure, or if you need help sticking with a healthy diet, talk with one of our health coaches! Sign up for a free 30 minute session.