The holidays are here once again and seasonal tables are filled with delicious savory fare and decadent sweet treats. But before you fill your plate, consider this. Nearly one-third of Americans have hypertension (high blood pressure), and many holiday foods cause blood pressure to rise. Prehypertension – a condition in which blood pressure is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as hypertension – affects another one-third of Americans, indicating that perhaps we all should consider what is served on our holiday dinner plate.
If you are among those who suffer from high blood pressure, you will need to thoughtfully consider the offerings of holiday cuisine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious holiday fare! To make the best choices in tasty foods, you need to know which ones may be unhealthy, and replace them with healthy options that can reduce high blood pressure. Let’s look at which temptations you should avoid and which selections can be beneficial.
Sometimes turkeys bought from the store can be injected with salt water to make them more “plump.” By reading the label you can discover whether or not this is the case. You can also buy fresh turkey directly from a farm or butcher to avoid this added sodium. Otherwise, turkey can be a delicious and low-sodium treat!
Processed Deli Meat
Party trays containing sliced ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami, and salami are staples of holiday buffet tables. Most deli meats are cured, seasoned, and preserved with salt, and a two-ounce serving may contain 600 mg or more of sodium. Avoiding processed meats promotes heart health.
Relish trays featuring pickles, marinated olives, mushrooms, and artichokes are sure to be offered at holiday parties. These items are low in calories, making them seem like a good choice, but they are loaded with sodium. As an example, one pickle has around 570 mg, nearly one-third the sodium limit for the entire day!
Gravy can be a low-sodium choice if made with low-salt broth or homemade soup as the base. If you are unsure, however, it may be best to avoid it.
All bread contains sodium so holiday stuffing will contain it as well. So avoid stuffing your plate with stuffing to ensure you avoid the extra sodium here.
Baked potatoes are rich in potassium and magnesium, both nutrients that lower blood pressure.
Berries and Fruit
Instead of hitting the dessert tray, try a tasty treat of fresh fruit instead. Berries contain natural compounds that are beneficial to heart health. Fresh fruit for the holiday season includes grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines, to name a few. Including these in your diet boosts heart health.
Spinach and Kale
These leafy greens are high in fiber, low in calories, and packed with nutrients, making them a heart super food. Pile either on sandwiches, add them to soups and smoothies, and make them the main ingredients of your salads.
Saving everyone’s favorite for last, dark chocolate is a heart-healthy treat that contains flavanoids. Eating just one square of 70% cocoa powder dark chocolate a day can help lower blood pressure.
Focusing on heart-healthy dining is a primary aspect of Parc’s senior living communities. Elegant meals are prepared and shared to promote and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As we celebrate this season of joy and peace, all of us at Parc Communities wish you a heart that is light and healthy, now and through-out the New Year.