There are a lot of liquid drinks on the market promising nutrition. You’re likely to get much more nutrition from a homemade smoothie than you will the expensive pre-packaged drinks. Some of them are seemingly waters laced with very little nutrition. Others are plant-based milk replacements touting themselves as a nutrition boost. Keep in mind that unlike plant-based milk replacement products, dairy provides essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorous. And it’s been shown to help lower high blood pressure (or hypertension). Hypertension is a risk factor for the disease caused by coronavirus (COVID19). What you drink can impact your blood pressure, so liquid calories do count.
Re-Think Your Drink
If you have hypertension, now is the time to manage your diet to lower blood pressure. When it comes to hypertension and beverages, excessive sugar or 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, but adds more calories. Sugary drinks alone won’t have a direct impact on blood pressure, but they may impact your weight, which can raise blood pressure). On the other hand, 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 and/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
Zero Waste Peanut-Powered Berry Smoothie
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries and/or strawberries
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 4 TB peanut powder
- 1 tsp honey or sugar optional, to taste
- Put berries, banana, milk, peanut powder, and honey into a blender or emulsion mixer.
- Blend until smooth and serve.