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A Heart-Healthy diet to treat High Blood Pressure

Did you know that a heart-healthy diet is one of the easiest ways to treat High Blood Pressure and prevent possible complications? Yes! A heart-healthy diet is extremely important for helping to reduce High Blood Pressure.

When it comes to a heart-healthy diet, the main focus is definitely SALT!

Salt, also known as sodium chloride is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. It gives flavour to the food and is used as a binder, stabilizer and food preservative. Our bodies require small amounts of sodium to function properly. Sodium plays an important role in conducting nerve impulses, to contract and relax muscles and to maintain a proper balance of water and minerals in the body. So salt is not all bad, but the problem comes in when we use TOO MUCH salt in our diet.

Let’s take a look at some guidelines for a low salt diet:

  1. Only add small amounts of salt to food while cooking.
  2. Do not add extra salt to food at the table.
  3. Use alternative flavourings instead of salt.
  • Herbs e.g Italian/Mixed herbs, Basil. Bay leaf, Parsley, Rosemary.
  • Spices e.g. Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger, Sage, Marjoram, Cardamom, Caraway, Tarragon
  • White and Black Pepper
  • Garlic (fresh/flakes)
  • Onion (fresh/flakes)
  • Mustard, Curry, Vinegar, Lemon juice
  • Robot Peppers (Red, Yellow, Green)

4. Avoid salt-containing agents.

  • Onion salt, celery salt, garlic salt, vegetable salt, barbeque and chicken spice. Meat tenderizers, commercial soup, sauces, gravies, stock, Aromat, Maggi Fondor, Bisto, Marmite, Bovril, Fish paste, Liver spread.
  • Sauces e.g. Steak sauce, Monkey gland, Barbeque, Teriyaki, Oyster, Worchester, Soy

5. Check food labels for forbidden ingredients and to see if the product is high in sodium

  • Salt, Sodium, monosodium glutamate (MSG) or anything sodium containing.
  • Check the nutritional information per 100g. If the Sodium content is more than 600mg per 100g, then the product is high in sodium and should be avoid. Between 120mg and 600mg is moderate and below 120mg is low in sodium.

6. Restrict high salt foods

  • Processed foods like viennas, cold meats, ham, hamburger patties, bully beef, beef and pork sausages.
  • Canned fish, dried fish and smoked fish.
  • Salty spreads e.g. meat/veg extracts (Marmite/Bovril), fish paste, liver spread, cheese spread.
  • High Salt cheese e.g. Blaauwkrantz, Roquefort, Parmesan and Feta,
  • Salty snacks e.g. chips, salty biscuits, biltong, droewors, salted nuts, salted popcorn, olives and pickles.

By following these simple guidelines, you will most likely see an improvement in your blood pressure! For more information on High Blood Pressure and guidelines on how to treat it through diet, contact a Registered Dietitian today!

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