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As the COVID-19 pandemic came, life changed drastically. In a matter of days, Americans went from working, going to school, and watching sports events to sheltering at home without schools, barber shops, or concerts. The sudden changes caused many people to experience confusion and exhaustion, and it may have caused you to lose focus on yourself, your health, and your diet. You are not alone if your eating habits have slipped a little and blood pressure has been a little off.
Now that Americans have been at home for weeks or months, and some are even seeing economic activity slowing starting up again, it may again be a good time to focus on yourself and your blood pressure. Knowing how to build a simple meal plan for hypertension can help control blood pressure while at home and as you venture out in the coming weeks and months.
Importance of Eating Well
Eating a healthy diet for hypertension can make a major difference in your blood pressure. That is why Lark for Hypertension offers coaching around working a smart hypertension diet into your lifestyle. Certain foods can help reduce blood pressure, while others may increase it. In addition, losing weight if you are overweight can reduce blood pressure by as much as 1 mm Hg per kilogram (2.2 lb.) that you lose.
A Smart Hypertension Diet
What goes into a smart hypertension diet? Lark for Hypertension suggests choosing plenty of nutritious foods and not too processed ones, and making small changes that can fit into your lifestyle so you can eat right for the long term.
Foods to Lower Blood Pressure
Some foods can help lower blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and omega-3 fatty acids from seafood have all been linked to lower blood pressure and better heart health.
At the same time, it may be best to limit certain foods and nutrients that are linked to higher blood pressure. Fatty meats, fried foods, and sugary foods are all associated with increased blood pressure. Sodium, which mainly comes from salt in the diet, is also linked to higher blood pressure and heart problems. Sources to watch out for include canned soups and other canned goods, processed foods such as frozen entrees and packaged snack foods, bread, processed meat, and pickled foods.
Losing weight can lower blood pressure, and it can be simple, even if it does not seem that way when you are working from home, have two hungry children clamoring for food, and have not had a moment by yourself in, literally, months due to stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus.
Lark for Hypertension can guide your meals and offer insights as you log meals and track weight loss. Tricks include loading up on vegetables, including leaner proteins, and limiting high-calorie foods such as refined carbs as well as fried foods, processed meat, and fatty foods.
Sample Menu for Hypertension During COVID-19
Here is a simple menu designed for weight loss and blood pressure control. It has about 1,200 calories, which can help most people lose weight. If you are very active, are a larger person, or are male, you may need more calories. You can add a few snacks or increase portion sizes.
Sample Day 1
Sample Day 2
1 egg scrambled with 2 egg whites and fat-free milk, with fresh spinach and tomatoes, plus oregano and 1 ounce feta cheese, served with 1 slice whole-grain toast.
Breakfast hash made with diced cauliflower and onions, 3 oz. lean ground turkey or soy-based substitute, ½ cup cubed sweet potato, and 2 teaspoons olive oil.
Chili made with garbanzo, black, and/or pinto beans, lean ground turkey or soy-based substitute, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, chili seasoning, served with avocado.
½ whole-grain English muffin with 2 tablespoons peanut butter and ¾ cup blueberries.
3 ounces baked salmon served over a bed of spinach cooked with lemon juice, garlic, black pepper, and basil.
1 cup fruit salad with ½ oz. nuts.
½ cup whole-grain pasta tossed with 3 oz. cooked shrimp or chicken, 1 oz. parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 cup broccoli and carrots.
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with ½ ounce nuts.
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans pureed with 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and black pepper (have half of the recipe), 1 cup cauliflower or broccoli florets.
After so many weeks in quarantine, the future is still uncertain, but one thing is sure. Staying home or getting ready to venture out, it is a great time to take charge of your diet and health. Having a simple meal plan to follow can make it easier for you to stay on track or get back on track, and Lark for Hypertension can be right there with you.
Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.