LifeStyle & Health

5 Recipes That’ll Reduce High Blood Pressure Without Meds

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Guess what. You blood pressure (BP) is one of those health markers that you need to pay attention to. “Every day, 215 people die from heart disease or stroke, which is primarily as a result of uncontrolled hypertension,” explains Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA. It’s unfortunately a disease which affects more South Africans every year. “There are often no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it is referred to as the silent killer. The only way of knowing is if you have your blood pressure checked,” says Naidoo.

What Is BP?

Take notes. High blood pressure or hypertension, is the most common preventable risk factor for heart disease. And at least 50% of hypertensive adults in South Africa don’t even know they have high blood pressure, which puts sufferers at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and kidney disease (eek!).

But there are ways you can manage and lower it: taking prescribed medication, reducing your salt (sodium) in your diet, limiting alcohol, reducing stress, getting a good night’s sleep, exercise and of course changing to a healthier diet. And when it comes to the later – we got you!

READ MORE: What Exactly Is The Low-FODMAP Diet And How Do You Do It?

Heart Healthy Diet

A new healthy cookbook, Cooking From The Heart, has been launched this Heart Awareness Month by SA’s leading cardiovascular medicines provider, Pharma Dynamics and the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) to help South Africans control their blood pressure by following the DASH diet. The “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” (DASH) diet is a proven way to reduce hypertension and is recommended by Hypertension Societies and healthcare professionals the world over.

Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says while family history plays a role, hypertension is often due to an unhealthy diet, which prompted the development of the DASH cookbook – the fifth instalment in the Cooking from the Heart cookbook series developed with the Heart and Stroke Foundation partnership.

Recipes For You

Here are recipes some of the delicious blood pressure-lowering recipes that’ll fill you and that you can get on the table asap.

Butternut and chickpea salad
(serves 4)

Butternut Chickpea Salad

5 ml ground coriander
5 ml paprika
10 ml dried origanum
5 ml ground cumin
½ tsp curry powder
45 ml olive or canola oil
¼ tsp salt
30 ml lemon juice
45 ml water
500 g butternut, peeled and cubed
black pepper to taste
410 g tin chickpeas, drained
4 small spinach leaves or 2 handfuls lettuce leaves, roughly torn

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 ˚C. Place spices, half the oil, salt, lemon juice, water and butternut in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Season with black pepper and place in an oven dish. Roast for 30 minutes or until butternut is tender. Allow to cool. Stir in chickpeas.
3. Spoon onto spinach or lettuce and drizzle with remaining oil. Enjoy as a salad.

Serve with oven-baked or roasted fish, chicken or meat. Fill your plate with green veggies, fruit or a tomato salad.

Tips
1. Crumble 1 slice of feta over the salad for more flavour, but omit the salt.
2. For added texture, serve with raw pumpkin seeds.
3. The spinach can be stirred into the hot butternut to soften the leaves a little. Serve as above.
4. Add any fresh ingredients of your choice like tomatoes, cucumber or green beans to the salad.

READ MORE: What Is The Pescatarian Diet — And Is It Even Good For You?

Green salad with chicken
(serves 5)

Green Salad With Chicken

Chicken
5 ml sunflower or olive oil
2 chicken breasts on the bone, skin removed
80 ml rooibos tea
1 bay leaf

Salad
7.50 ml prepared mild mustard
45 ml lemon juice or white grape vinegar
5 ml sugar or honey
45 ml sunflower or olive oil
2.50 ml dried origanum
black pepper to taste
100 g broccoli, cut in florets or thin green beans, halved
250 ml frozen peas, rinsed
¼ cucumber, halved and sliced
large handful mixed lettuce leaves

Method
1. Chicken: heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry chicken on both sides until golden brown.
2. Reduce heat, add tea and bay leaf. Cover with a lid. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until just cooked. Spoon out and allow to cool. (freeze the pan juices and use as a stock for another meal.) Remove the bones from the chicken and shred the meat.
3. Salad: mix mustard, lemon juice, sugar, oil and origanum and season with pepper. Pour some of this mixture over the chicken to marinade the cooked meat.
4. Pour boiling water over the broccoli or beans and peas. Allow to stand for 7-10 minutes or until cooked. Drain and repeat if necessary. Rinse well to cool.
5. Toss the cooked veggies and chicken with cucumber and lettuce and serve with the remaining dressing. If you are packing into a lunch box, keep the lettuce and extra salad dressing separate until you are ready to eat. Enjoy with left-over cooked veggies such as butternut, sweet potato or corn or a slice of wholewheat bread.

Tips
1. Although dried herbs are convenient, fresh herbs like origanum, rosemary and thyme will be delicious in this salad.
2. Use this method to cook chicken for any dish. It is easy and the chicken stays juicy.

Buttermilk marinated chops
(serves 6)

Buttermilk marinated chop

1 tbsp (15 ml) sunflower oil
juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) dried parsley or 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
6 x 160 g pork chops, all fat removed

Method
1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Place pork chops in a shallow dish and pour marinade over.
3. Stir through to coat chops with marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Braai chops over medium coals for 5-8 minutes on each side or until cooked to your preference.
5. Serve with oven-baked chips and a salad and lemon wedges. (see tips)

Tips
1. Make your own oven-baked chips.
2. Pan-fry chops in a thin layer of oil for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked.
3. Chicken pieces, skin and fat removed or lean lamb chops are also delicious with this marinade.
4. Spicy marinade: Add 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin to marinade.

Pasta With Tuna and Peas
(serves 6)

Pasta with tuna and peas

250 g elbow noodles
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
2 tbsp (30 ml) sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) curry powder
2 x 170 g tins tuna in brine, drained
1 x 410 g tin cream style sweetcorn
¼ cup (60 ml) low-fat or fat-free milk
1 cup (250 ml) frozen peas, rinsed
lemon juice and black pepper to taste

Method
1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add pasta and ½ tsp of the salt. Cook until tender and drain well. Stir in 1 tbsp of the oil and keep warm.
2. Preheat oven to 180 °C. Meanwhile, heat rest of the oil in a pot and fry onion and green pepper.
3. Add curry powder and fry for a few minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in remaining ingredients with the rest of the salt.
5. Mix sauce with warm pasta and season with lemon juice and pepper.
6. Spoon into an oven dish and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Tips
1. If you prefer a spicier sauce, fry 1 chilli, chopped with the onion.

Chicken and corn soup
(Serves 6 – 8)

Chicken And Corn Soup

2 chicken breasts on the bone, skin and all fat removed
1 tbsp (15 ml) sunflower oil
2 onions, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
2 tsp (10 ml) ground coriander
4 cups (1 litre) water
2 tbsp (30 ml) dried mixed herbs
1 cup (250 ml) low-fat or fat-free milk
1 cup (250 ml) frozen whole kernel corn, rinsed (optional)
1 x 410 g tin cream style sweetcorn
lemon juice and black pepper to taste
3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh coriander or parsley

Method
1. Cut chicken breasts in half with kitchen scissors or a sharp knife.
2. Heat oil in a large pot and fry chicken, onions and garlic for a few minutes.
3. Add potatoes, cumin, ground coriander, water and dried herbs. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
4. Spoon out the chicken. Remove bones and shred meat.
5. Stir chicken, milk, corn and sweetcorn into the soup and heat through.
6. Season with lemon juice and pepper. Stir in fresh herbs and serve.
7. Remember that the tinned sweetcorn contains salt, so don’t add salt at the table.

Tip
1. Fish soup: Replace the chicken with left-over fish or hake. Stir into soup at step 5.

READ MORE: 24 High-Fibre Foods That Should Be On Your Plate Every Day, According To Nutritionists

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