High blood pressure is concerning to everyone, partly because it’s so common in the United States. Roughly one in three American adults will experience high blood pressure in their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean it has to happen to you. A major part of fending off high blood pressure comes from what you eat. If you’re looking for a midday or late-night snack, here’s what you should grab.
Carrots and hummus make a heart-healthy snack. | Robyn Mac/iStock/Getty Images
Carrots and hummus
Hummus is a delicious snack when paired with chips. But since tortilla chips often have a high salt content, swap them out for carrots to get a hearty crunch without sacrificing your health. Carrots are packed with vitamin A and heart-healthy antioxidants. Hummus is a low-sodium dip, but stick with one serving.
Greek yogurt with berries
For a filling snack, grab a vanilla Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt has a lower sugar content than regular yogurt) and pair it with fresh berries. Berries contain phytonutrients, which help keep your heart in good shape. Plus, they’re loaded with fiber, which is also good for the heart and will keep you feeling full.
Apple slices and peanut butter
People often view peanut butter as unhealthy, but in moderation, it’s good for you — and delicious. It contains protein, plus heart-healthy fats that make it the perfect add-on to any snack. Apples, on the other hand, can reduce inflammation in the artery walls as well as reduce cholesterol. They’re good for your heart in many ways, and adding a little peanut butter only makes them better.
Whole wheat crackers with tuna
The one thing to check when purchasing whole wheat crackers is that they are low in sodium. A low-sodium food is considered anything under 140 milligrams per serving. Sometimes, crackers are seasoned with salt to give them more flavor. But pair low-sodium crackers with a serving of canned tuna for a protein-packed snack that will keep you full. The complex carbohydrates will break down slower in your body, preventing an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.
Dark chocolate covered bananas
If you’re craving a sweet treat, you may need more than just one ounce of dark chocolate to fill you up. Instead, prepare make-ahead chocolate-covered banana slices. They’re sweet from the chocolate but have heart-healthy vitamins and minerals from the bananas, including potassium. Potassium keeps the heart beating steadily and can counteract too much sodium.
Avoid salty snacks, such as chips and salsa, salted nuts, etc.
In addition to knowing which snacks to eat, it’s also important to know which snacks to avoid. Any type of jarred sauce, including salsa, is often high in sodium to add flavor. Homemade salsa with whole grain crackers is a healthy snack, but jarred salsa paired with salty tortilla chips is one to avoid. Nuts are good for the heart, too, but make sure to purchase the unsalted kind. Sodium is necessary for the body to function properly, but you only need about 500 milligrams per day. Americans, on average, consume 3,400 milligrams per day. Too much sodium is a major cause of high blood pressure.
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