Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are part of DASH diet, which is proven to lower blood pressure and deliver powerful nutrition and health benefits. (Getty Images)

Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are part of DASH diet, which is proven to lower blood pressure and deliver powerful nutrition and health benefits. (Getty Images)

How to prevent and manage high blood pressure with diet

The DASH Diet is a low-sodium eating habit with powerful nutrition and health benefits.

Several factors that you can control make a huge impact on whether you develop high blood pressure.

In this column, I’m focusing on how you can prevent and manage high blood pressure with the types of food you eat and with the dietary salt you consume. You can still enjoy your meals and keep pleasure on your plate, if you keep a few important caveats in mind.

One is the amount of salt you eat.

Why is keeping your daily salt (sodium) intake under 2,400 milligrams a day (about a teaspoon) so important? Because salt attracts water and pulls it into your blood vessels, increasing your blood volume, and eventually your blood pressure. Most of us eat far more sodium than that. Research shows that by keeping your sodium intake under 2,300 milligrams per day, you can lower your blood pressure significantly.

How do we do it? By learning where the salt in your diet is coming from.

Highly processed packaged, boxed or prepared foods contribute about 70% of the sodium we consume. So steer clear of them and eat more whole foods like fresh, frozen or canned low-sodium vegetables and fruit. Rinsing canned foods lowers salt by up to 40%.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension) diet is an eating pattern that has been clinically proven beneficial for lowering blood pressure, delivering powerful nutrition and health benefits, and can even promote weight loss. The DASH diet includes lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, beans, seeds and low-fat dairy products.

This amazing variety of foods are low in salt and saturated fat, and high in fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium — all essential for keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. It’s a deliciously simple way of eating that I’ve been enjoying for a long time because my husband has high blood pressure. These are the foods that will make a difference in your health now and for years to come.

You also can reduce your salt intake by flavoring foods with fresh or dried herbs, vinegars, no-salt spice blends (such as Mrs. Dash, my favorite). At the grocery store, buy low-salt canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, skip deli and processed meats and boxed rice and pasta mixes. Instead, try Lundberg whole grain rice mixes or others that contain no added salt.

Processed meats such as bacon, sausage and jerky, and condiments such as ketchup, mustard or gravy, and fast foods all should be avoided.

To identify high-sodium foods, scan the ingredient list for words such as “brined,” “marinated,” “smoked,” “baking soda,” “salt flakes,” “monosodium glutamate (MSG),” “pickled,” “savory” and “seasoned.” If salt is one of the top three ingredients, consider making the same dish from scratch. Put the processed product back on the shelf.

Kim Larson is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified health and wellness coach and founder of Total Health. Visit www.totalhealthrd.com or www.facebook.com/totalhealthnutrition for more. Follow her on Twitter @healthrd. Disclaimer: This is for information only and not intended as personal medical advice.

Talk to us

More in Life

Josh Haazard Stands inside his workspace, the HaazLab, where he creates a variety of cosplay props and other creative gadgets, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, at his home in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
This contraption crafter turns junk into sci-fi weaponry

Joshamee “The Chief” Haazard is a costume prop maker in Monroe. He transforms trash into treasure.

Shawn McQuiller of Kool & The Gang performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, on Sunday, May 8, 2022, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Kool & The Gang and Average White Band are coming soon to a casino near you. Queensryche also is due in Arlington.

For your kids’ sake, stress less about their grades this school year

Don’t make a big deal over grades. Instead, encourage out-of-classroom activities and remember, learning is supposed to be fun.

At the prehistoric fortress of Dun Aengus, the dramatic west cliffs of Ireland meet the turbulent sea as Europe comes to an abrupt end. (Rick Steves' Europe)
Enjoy the simple life on Ireland’s starkly beautiful Aran Islands

Three limestone islands make up the Aran Islands: Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer.

American Queen changes COVID protocols; can I get a refund?

fter American Queen changes its COVID protocols, Patricia Voorhees Furlong and her husband want to skip their river cruise. Is that allowed? Or, will they lose out on $7,858?

Preston Brust, left, and Chris Lucas of LOCASH perform during CMA Fest 2022 on Thursday, June 8, 2022, at the Chevy Riverfront Stage in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

The country music duo Locash drops by the Angel of the Winds Casino on Saturday. And there’s the Summer Meltdown festival at its new home near Snohomish all weekend.

‘Poco Orange’ Red Hot Poker. (Terra Nova Nurseries)
Warmer weather means brighter, hotter colors in the garden

Here are seven plants that will bring a blazing pop of color to your outdoor spaces.

Bruce Johnson has an exhibit on the history of clowns at the Lynnwood Library in Lynnwood, Washington on August 11, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Clown historian takes the funny business very seriously

Bruce Johnson, a.k.a “Charlie the Juggling Clown,” wants to pass his craft down to future generations.

Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Fruits, flowers and bees aplenty in Arlington farm fete

First-ever event highlights local growers’ bounty and contributions to local community

Most Read