May is National Blood Pressure month, which aims to help raise awareness about the health impacts of high blood pressure, or hypertension.
When blood pressure is too high, the heart must work harder than normal, which then puts a strain on other arteries and organs. Over time, increased stress on the heart causes it to become strained and weakened. Most of the time there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure. The best way to keep track of your blood pressure is to have it checked. With a healthy diet and lifestyle, we can help maintain normal blood pressure, and keep our heart strong.
The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been recommended to help reduce chances of developing high blood pressure. The DASH diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low sodium foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Read below for some tips to DASH your way to better health.
- Sneaky Sodium: some common sources of hidden salt include breakfast and deli meats, most cheeses, some breads and cereals, condiments and sauces, packaged foods, and canned foods. Look for low sodium food options and try seasoning foods with fresh herbs and spices, or add some zest with citrus flavors. CulinArt’s Eat Well options are all developed to be low in sodium and incorporate whole and naturally flavored foods.
- Focus on Fiber: including whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables in your daily diet can significantly boost your fiber intake. Whole wheat breads, oatmeal, lentils, beans, and peas are all great sources of fiber. Increasing dietary fiber will also help you feel satisfied longer since high fiber foods digest more slowly in the body.
- Power up with Protein: sources of lean protein like poultry, fish, and plant based proteins tend to be lower in saturated fat. They provide you with the necessary protein to maintain muscles and other body functions, while also protecting your heart and maintaining normal blood pressure.
- Flavorful Fats: don’t fear the fats! Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, oils, and fish are actually beneficial and promote heart health. Increasing intakes of healthy fats and reducing intakes of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can lower your risk of high blood pressure.
With these simple additions to your regular diet, you can start DASHing your way to better health!
Check back on the blog for the month of May for recipes and tips to help manage blood pressure.