It’s that time of year again. The holidays are here. Stores have begun creating festive window displays holiday music is on the radio, and children rush to meet Santa in malls all across the country. Thanksgiving and Christmas are both joyous times of the year when families gather together, gifts are exchanged, and the rooms are filled with laughter. And then, there’s the food. It can be easy to over indulge this time of year. But those who suffer from hypertension should avoid such temptations and look for healthy alternatives to foods made with whole milk, salt, and excessive amounts of butter.
Leafy greens are a healthy food choice in general, but they’re exceptionally beneficial to those with hypertension due to their potassium content. Potassium works within the kidneys to help the body rid itself of excess sodium. Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, and turnip greens all contain high levels of potassium and are excellent choices for a holiday meal. It’s best to buy fresh or frozen when shopping for leafy greens, since canned vegetables like turnip greens and spinach contain added sodium.
For people that have a sweet tooth, berries make a healthy alternative to desserts that were made with milk and butter. Blueberries are the best choice for seniors with hypertension, due to their high levels of anthocyanins. While all berries contain anthocyanins, blueberries offer the highest amount of it, and recent studies have shown that consuming blueberries daily can help reduce blood pressure.
Still, raspberries and strawberries are also great alternatives to traditional desserts at a Thanksgiving table.
Dark chocolate is another excellent alternative to desserts, such as pumpkin pie, which has around 317 mg of sodium per slice. To benefit from dark chocolate, you should consume high-quality chocolates that contain a minimum of 70 percent cocoa. It’s important to choose chocolate with high cocoa content since cocoa-rich chocolate can help to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.
Instead of indulging in red meats, people with hypertension should choose fish as their source of protein. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids which can lower blood pressure and help reduce inflammation. Salmon also contains vitamin D, which is a rare find in food and can also benefit someone with hypertension. Salmon can be prepared in a variety of ways, so it can easily find its place on the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table.
A great way to snack during the holidays is to munch on unsalted seeds. Sunflower, pumpkin, and squash seeds are all high in potassium, magnesium, and other minerals known to reduce blood pressure, making them the perfect way to stay healthy between meals.
Sweet potatoes are a common sight on the Thanksgiving table and can be prepared in a variety of ways. While those who Suffer from hypertension should avoid digging into the sweet potato casserole, which is prepared with butter and covered in tons of gooey marshmallows, they can indulge in regularly prepared sweet potatoes Sweet potatoes are an excellent holiday choice because they are a potassium-rich food. Potassium works within the body to reduce the effects of sodium and alleviate tension in the walls of blood Vessels. Other potassium-rich foods are avocados, bananas, beans, tuna, and mushrooms. It’s important to note that those who also suffer from kidney disease should speak to their doctors about potassium before indulging, since too much potassium could be harmful to them.