Most people know that too much sugar can lead to health problems. However, fewer people see that salt can be as bad for your health. Excess sodium, which means as low as 10 to 12 grams of salt per day, can leads to high blood pressure and heart diseases. High blood pressure is one of the most preventable conditions, yet it still affects a huge part of the population. Aside from maintaining a healthy weight and exercising daily, there are many things you can do to prevent and lower blood pressure.
7 Food Swaps to Reduce Your Salt Intake and Lower Blood Pressure
Choose leftovers over pre-packaged frozen dinners: Packaged ready-to-eat meals are among the foods containing the most sodium levels. Try to cook a bigger batch of food and freeze/package the your week instead. Chances are it will not only be healthier but also better in terms of flavor.
Use spices, vinegar or fruit juices: Choose low-sodium options like fresh or dried herbs, spices and natural juices to add flavor without adding sodium. Try a blend of thyme, oregano, rosemary and lavender for a South of France touch, with a mix or dried garlic and onion, smoked paprika and a dash of stevia for barbecue seasoning, a blend of lime juice, coconut milk and fresh ginger or a mix of lemon juice, cumin and cilantro for more exotic, low-sodium flavors.
Rinse the brine: Pickled food such as olives, capers and pickles can add a swooping level of sodium. Try to choose fresh produce instead of at least rinse off the extra brine before serving.
Make your own: Vinaigrettes, broth, soups and condiments are common places where sodium can hide. Whip a quick vinaigrette with fresh citrus juice and flavored vinegar for your salads, and make your own, less salty broth and soups for a healthier option. You can also experiment with fresh version of your favorite condiment, such as using homemade salsa instead of ketchup.
Choose whole grains: One easy way to naturally lower blood pressure is by choosing whole grains over white flour products. Whole grains contain fiber that naturally lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Go for dark chocolate: flavonol, the antioxidants in dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure and help dilate blood vessels. As any treat, don’t overindulge!
Take CoQ10 supplements: Studies show that Coenzyme Q10 significantly reduces blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. Talk to your health professional about taking 60 to 100 mg of coenzyme Q10 up to 3 times a day.