High blood pressure, or hypertension, is linked to high sodium intake and excess body weight, and it can go undetected -- often for years. Most sodium in the average American diet comes from packaged, processed foods, which are high in sodium and often loaded with saturated fat. Making healthy snack choices can help prevent or lower high blood pressure.
Keep resealable bags filled with bite-size veggies in the refrigerator as a quick snack. Serve a platter of your favorite veggies with a low-sodium, low-fat dip as a group snack. Eating fresh vegetables as part of your daily snack plan is not only a way to help stabilize your blood pressure, but it's also a way to provide you body with powerful nutrients. Most fresh vegetables are naturally low in sodium and fat. They're also low in calories, which is important because reducing your daily caloric intake is linked to a significant reduction in blood pressure levels. Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes are also high in calcium and potassium, two minerals that help support healthy blood pressure levels.
Fresh Fruit Snacks
Fresh fruits, such as apples, bananas, strawberries, blackberries and cantaloupe, not only make refreshing snacks but also satisfy your sweet tooth. Fruits like apples and bananas are prepackaged, ready-to-eat snacks -- compliments of mother nature. Combine other fruits, such as berries and melons, with low-fat yogurt for a more filling snack. Fresh fruits are naturally low in sodium, rich in fiber and contain calcium, which contributes to healthy blood pressure. Fruits are also high in potassium, which aids sodium in regulating your body's water balance.
A Handful of Nuts
Enjoy crunchy nuts, such as cashews, as a way to help you maintain healthy blood pressure. Nuts sold in their shell, such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts and pecans, are typically free of added salt. Peanuts and pistachios, however, often come salted. Shelled, unsalted nuts are also available in handy packages for on-the-go snacks. Nuts contain fiber and magnesium -- a mineral that plays a vital role in healthy blood pressure levels. Because nuts are calorie-dense, limit your snack-serving intake to 1.5 ounces as part a weight management program that supports healthy blood pressure levels.
Low-fat and nonfat diary foods, such as low-fat cheese, milk and yogurt, make good snack choices for those with high blood pressure. A frozen yogurt, low-fat string cheese with a piece of fresh fruit or a cup of low-fat yogurt topped with fresh berries are satisfying snacks that are good for your blood pressure. Low-fat dairy choices are also typically high in calcium and potassium -- blood pressure-friendly minerals. Dairy products can, however, contain high amounts of sodium. Check food labels to ensure you're buying low-sodium or sodium-free varieties.