Sunday, October 13, 2002

What are the easiest easiest recipes to control blood pressure?

My dad's doctor just recommended the DASH diet to control his blood pressure. He lives alone most of the time seeing i go to college out of state. I think the extent of his cooking skills are cereal and ham sandwiches which are not on the diet plan. What are some healthy cheap recipes to try to try out?

Answer on What are the easiest easiest recipes to control blood pressure?

If your Dad doesn't like to cook much, the best thing you can offer him regarding recipes that will promote lower blood pressure is simplicity. In this vein, let's focus on the basics regarding diet and blood pressure.

Too much sodium is responsible for a great deal of high blood pressure problems. Most Americans get way too much of it in their diets, and most of it isn't due to sprinkling more table salt on food either. Processed food is loaded with it. Why not do grocery shopping for your father, or get somebody else to do it for you? Read the labels, and reject anything with a lot of sodium.

Avoid foods with LDL cholesterol as well. This is the "bad" cholesterol, and can be a big contributor to blood pressure problems. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating oatmeal and oat bran, nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, and fish high in omega 3 oils -- salmon, mackerel, tuna, lake trout, sardines, herring.

Focus on the simple recipes for your father. How much cooking does a bowl of oat bran with skim milk take? If that's too bland for him, sprinkle a few blueberries on top. Skim milk is an ideal food for high blood pressure too, since it contains calcium and vitamin D, and the two have a synergistic effect.

Potassium helps lower blood pressure too. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, baked potatoes and soybeans. As bad a cook as your Dad may be, peeling a banana a few times a day is something I'm sure he can handle. I hope you see what I'm driving at here -- simple ways he can lower his blood pressure. Don't try to turn him into Julia Child here.

Half an ounce of dark chocolate per day has also been shown to lower blood pressure. The higher percentage of cacao in it, the better. For more tips, please read the resources in the source box.

God bless your Dad, and you for helping him.