Whether or not you have high blood pressure, you should always eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. Even though we recommend a low-sodium, low-sugar, low-fat, high-fiber diet to combat hypertension, we do not endorse a diet of only fruits and vegetables.
Diet extremes only harm your body, rather than provide balance and make you feel good. Even the same vegetables over and over again are not necessarily good for you on a daily basis. If you have broccoli one day, have string beans another.
If you want to know how our government thinks we should eat in order to have a balanced diet, go to mypyramid.gov. There are many illustrations and tips for you to review.
The kinds of foods we eat, their portion size, and whether they are organic versus non-organic, can play a significant role in our body chemistry and our ability to reduce blood pressure, maintain our weight or lose weight. Our pattern of eating is also important. Spread out your meals and try to avoid refined snacks, which are loaded with fat, sugar and salt.
As a practicing vegetarian, I always try to make sure that I’m eating enough protein through soy products and grains. Occasionally, I might even eat some grilled or baked salmon. You need to do what’s right for you, since only you knows your body.
Let’s call the following melslaw: If you eat too much of one kind of food, balance your diet by eating an equal amount of an opposite kind of food until you can eat a proportionately balanced diet. For example, if you are a fast-food junkie, rotate your meals between grains, leafy vegetables and fruits and fast food, which usually consists of refined foods, fat, salt and sugar. This is not a perfect diet, but it is a start on your road to healthy living. High-fat foods contain more calories than low-fat foods, fruits, vegetables, and grains, and are not as satisfying as the latter.
If you have high blood pressure, think of the following as a daily balanced diet:
- 30-40% - Whole grains
- 30-40% - Veggies (try to eat as many raw vegetables as possible)
- 10-20% - Protein (go for vegetable protein and eat meal sparingly)
- 10-20% - Fruits and Nuts
Nobody is perfect, so do your best.