For those with high blood pressure, consuming too much salt only increases the problem (see References 1). In two studies sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) carefully controlled heart-healthy diets reduced high blood pressure. These findings led to the development of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, approved by the American Heart Association. Following this diet's recipes helps lower high blood pressure (see Resource 1).
Reduce the Sodium (Salt)
Lower the amount of sodium in foods to decrease high blood pressure (see References 1). Make substitutions for salt by increasing the number of salt-free herbs and spice mixes. Keep the total amount of sodium at less than or equal to 1,500 mg per day (see References 3). Read food ingredient labels to identify low-sodium products and avoid adding extra salt to dishes (see Resources 1 for a list of ingredients to avoid).
Increase the amount of whole grains and fruits and vegetables in dishes to raise the amount of fiber in the diet (see References 1). Serve whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat bread, and add more fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits into dishes. Purchase canned vegetables that do not have added salt. Drain and rinse canned products packed with additional salt (see Resources 2).
Limit Total Fats and Cholesterol
Avoid fatty meats, fried foods and added oils. Opt instead for lean cuts of pork, chicken and fish. Bake or steam rather than frying, and avoid adding extra oil or butter to finished dishes. Serve vegetables and bread without added butter. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in recipes, and use low-fat dairy products in cooking (see Resources 2).