What you drink can impact your blood pressure, so liquid calories do count. A couple of years ago I attended a food expo where liquid nutrition was definitely on trend. Some of the items were seemingly bogus waters or plant-based milk replacements. Others had some value that could fill a nutrition gap. Unlike plant-based milk replacement, milk provides essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorous.
Re-Think Your Drink
High blood pressure (or hypertension) is a risk factor for the disease caused by coronavirus (COVID19). If you have hypertension, now is the time to manage your diet. When it comes to hypertension and beverages, excessive sugar and alcohol is of concern. Maintaining the practice of moderation is your goal (no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day for women, 1-2 drinks for men). Adding sugary beverages to them, such as lemonade, regular soft drinks, or tonic water, provide zero nutrition and quite a few more calories from sugar (weight impacts high blood pressure). Sugary drinks alone won’t have a direct impact on blood pressure, but including milk every day can have a positive impact (the DASH Diet plan recommends 2 to 3 servings of dairy per day to lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure).
Smoothies are a great way to get dairy, fruits and veggies into your diet to lower blood pressure. Smoothies can serve as a quick and easy breakfast or a nourishing mid-day treat. A good DASH Diet smoothie has a few basic components – milk or plain yogurt and some fruit or vegetable (if you want to boost protein you can add a protein powder but remember, milk has 8 grams per 8 ounces).
If you like, you can add a bit of sweetness to increase palatability. When I make veggies smoothies I may pair spinach with apples for instance. Or I may add a half teaspoon of honey to a yogurt smoothie (As Mary Poppins says – “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”). You can add all sorts of produce into a smoothie – spinach, berries, apples, pears, bananas, avocado – the list goes on. To create new flavor profiles, you can also add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, or paprika. Experiment and have fun with it!
DASH-Approved Blueberry-Banana Smoothie to Lower Blood Pressure
DASH Diet Peanut-Powered Blueberry Smoothie
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries or strawberries
- 1/2 banana
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 2 TB peanut powder
- 1/2 tsp honey or sugar optional
- Put frozen berries, banana, milk, peanut powder, and honey into a blender or emulsion mixer.
- Blend until smooth and serve.