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Healthy Eating

8 best low sodium snacks for high blood pressure

As for snack time, sample some of these low-sodium delicious and healthful treats to manage blood pressure.

1. Frozen Bananas and Chocolate

When you think of potassium-rich foods, what comes to mind? Of course, bananas. So, bananas make a great portable health snack for reducing blood pressure, since potassium reduces blood pressure. But here’s how to turn the fruit into a Popsicle-like snack treat: Freeze it and drizzle it with melted dark chocolate, suggests medical board member and registered dietitian nutritionist Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim.

2. Walnuts

Shelled unsalted walnuts are a terrific snack substitute for potato chips. They are superb for overall heart health since they are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. And a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that replacing saturated fats with walnuts or vegetable oils improves blood pressure a blood fat in people at risk for cardiovascular disease. Instead of munching walnuts plain, try a yogurt parfait topped with blueberries and crushed walnuts. “This is a super healthy snack, as it’s rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium, perfect for regulating blood pressure,” says Dr. Young.

3. A Beet Treat

A healthy blood-pressure-lowering snack would be anything you can conjure up using beetroot juice (like smoothies) or beets (like salads). “Studies suggest that dietary nitrate (found in beetroot juice and beets) promotes vasodilation or the relaxation and opening of the blood vessels) which contributes to overall reduced systemic blood pressure,” says registered dietitian and certified diabetes care education specialist Justine Rosado, RD, CDN, CDCES, co-founder of the telehealth nutrition business The Nutrition Queens.

Rosado, who started her career as a professional chef, suggests snacking on shaved beet salad, spiralized beets, or roasted beets, peeled and cubed over yogurt and topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

4. Celery Sticks & Peanut Butter

What could be quicker for snacking than cutting up a few celery stalks and slathering on some peanut butter? Celery sticks and all-natural peanut butter are one of Rosado’s go-to low-sodium hunger busters. Celery contains phytochemicals that relax the linings of arteries to increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Plus celery stalk is low in sodium and also provides the blood-pressure-regulating minerals potassium and magnesium.

Remember that “including more potassium-rich foods in your diet is another healthy habit [to manage blood pressure] as it may help ‘flush out’ some of the excess sodium in your body,” Manaker says.

Just be sure to dip your sticks in all-natural peanut butter, which has no sodium. (Many brands add salt, sugar, and palm oil.) Grind your own or check for labels that list only one ingredient: peanuts.

5. Cottage Cheese and Greek Yogurt

Registered dietitian nutritionist Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, recommends two easy low-sodium snacks: Greek yogurt and berries and no-salt-added cottage cheese and whole wheat crackers.

The combination of the protein in yogurt and cottage cheese and fiber in berries and whole wheat crackers provides a hunger-satisfying snack that sticks with you, keeping you from reaching for packaged snacks that tend to be high in sodium. Plus, “cottage cheese has calcium and potassium to help fight elevated blood pressure and no-salt cottage cheese if very low in sodium,” says the co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health and Happiness.

6. Watermelon

You now know about the blood-pressure-lowering power of potassium, but have you heard of L-citrulline? The amino acid gets its name from Citrullus vulgaris, which is Latin for watermelon. Watermelon contains both potassium and L-citrulline. And a meta-analysis of studies in the Nutrition & Food Science showed that 8-weeks of L-citrulline supplementation lowered blood pressures of subjects in at-risk populations. L-citrulline converts to another amino acid, L-arginine, in the body. L-arginine is a vasodilator, meaning it opens blood vessels and makes them more flexible, which is why it’s helpful for treating heart conditions and hypertension.

7. Fresh fruit snacks

Fresh fruits, such as apples, bananas, strawberries, blackberries and cantaloupe, not only make refreshing snacks but also satisfy your sweet tooth. Fruits like apples and bananas are prepackaged, ready-to-eat snacks — compliments of mother nature. Combine other fruits, such as berries and melons, with low-fat yogurt for a more filling snack. Fresh fruits are naturally low in sodium, rich in fiber and contain calcium, which contributes to healthy blood pressure. Fruits are also high in potassium, which aids sodium in regulating your body’s water balance.

8. A handful of nuts

Enjoy crunchy nuts, such as cashews, as a way to help you maintain healthy blood pressure. Nuts sold in their shell, such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts and pecans, are typically free of added salt. Peanuts and pistachios, however, often come salted. Shelled, unsalted nuts are also available in handy packages for on-the-go snacks. Nuts contain fiber and magnesium — a mineral that plays a vital role in healthy blood pressure levels. Because nuts are calorie-dense, limit your snack-serving intake to 1.5 ounces as part a weight management program that supports healthy blood pressure levels.

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