The success or failure of following a plan to achieve normal blood pressure begins with our selection of foods at the supermarket. Thus, I suggest you do not buy a food you know is not good for you while thinking “I’ll eat just a little bit and I’ll save the rest” because it doesn’t work that way. Trust me. If you buy it, guaranteed, you will eat it.
How to select foods at the supermarket
When at the market, if you are really serious about lowering your blood pressure, follow these 3 key points:
Select foods high in potassium and low in sodium
Select foods with enough calcium and magnesium
Avoid commercially prepared foods with added sodium
Following these 3 principles will direct you to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and will avoid commercially prepared foods containing added sodium, such as most canned foods and junk foods.
Select foods high in potassium
The first point in the above list to follow is to buy foods that naturally have a high amount of potassium and a low amount of sodium. These include:
Skim or low fat milk or yogurt
Legumes (dry beans, lentils, garbanzo beans)
Any food that has not added salt. Commercially processed foods have much more salt (sodium) than potassium.
Pasta in our diet
Pasta has played an important role in the Italian diet for centuries, but it has also become a very popular food in many countries across the globe. Pasta is a convenient and economical food. It is easy to prepare, quick to cook, and can be combined with all sorts of ingredients to create a tempting range of dishes to suit all tastes.
The word pasta literally means “dough”. The best fresh pastas are made from a basic combination of pasta flour, eggs, salt, and sometimes a little olive oil and/or water. Top quality dried pastas are made from 100 percent durum (hard, high-protein) wheat, and some include the addition of eggs.
The variety of both fresh and dried pasta include spaghetti, linguini, tagliatelle, penne, macaroni, fusilli, conchiglie, elbow macaroni, and spiral noodles among others. These are excellent choices since they are:
Low in sodium
Low in fat
High in potassium
High in good carbohydrates
High in fiber
Pasta should always be cooked in a large pan containing plenty of water. You can add a pinch of salt or no salt. Fresh pasta takes 1-3 minutes to cook. Dried pasta takes about 8 minutes to cook.
Pasta should always be cooked “al dente” which means it should be tender but still have a slight resistance to the bite.
Tips to remember when buying and cooking pasta:
Buy whole wheat pasta or durum semolina
Add very little or no salt to the cooking water
Watch what is in the sauce. If you buy tomato sauce at the market, make sure it is low sodium, 140 milligrams or less per serving.
Legumes or dry beans
Legumes are a valuable source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Buy dried legumes for soaking and cooking yourself or canned varieties for speed and convenience.
If you buy canned beans you need to pay attention to the sodium amount per serving. Buy low sodium (140 milligrams or less) and rinse them with cold water.
Cook dried red and black kidney beans in boiling water for 15 minutes to destroy harmful toxins in the outer skin. Drain and rinse the beans, and then simmer until the beans are tender.
Soy beans should be boiled for 1 hour, as they contain a substance that inhibits protein absorption.
All legumes are:
High in potassium
Low in sodium
Low in fat
Low in calories
Excellent source of fiber
High in vitamins and minerals
Dried pinto beans
Red, black, and navy dried beans
How Many Beans Do I Need to Eat?
Health authorities recommend 4 to 5 servings per week. 1 serving is half cup of cooked dry beans.
An added bonus is that legumes are cheap and easy to store.
As you can see, following a diet to obtain a good blood pressure is not difficult at all. Actually, it is quite simple, but as I said at the beginning, the secret to this healthy diet is buying the right foods and, of course, cooking them the right way. By that I mean, not adding too much salt.
And to obtain excellent results in the endeavor, do not forget to walk, please.