Hypertension is something I’ve always been aware of being around a lot of older relatives. Aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents have at some point mentioned having hypertension. In fact I grew up having a blood pressure machine in our household that my family would use on a daily or monthly basis. I saw the way it would fluctuate with my relatives day-to-day. Now that I’m approaching my late 30’s, getting my blood pressure checked doesn’t necessarily yield the perfect numbers I once had. While it’s nothing to be alarmed over, I do realize that it’s never too early to start paying attention to your diet so that you can maintain healthy blood pressure throughout the years.
I’d much rather have a heart-healthy diet for preventative measures than diet for corrective measures. No one needs that kind of stress and it’s avoidable if you pay attention to your diet. You just need to be mindful of what you are eating daily.
To prevent hypertension, you want to stick with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, some protein and whole grains offering a diet that is relatively easy to follow. I would say that most of my recipes already fall in line with these guidelines. It’s also important to cut back on salt intake to reduce bloating. Healthy, low sodium nuts to snack on, low fat dairy yogurt when you crave sweets, or indulge in a nice bowl of oatmeal in the mornings when you are hungry and needing a solid breakfast to start your day. Minor swaps here and there can make a huge difference. And last but not least, exercise. I can’t stress enough how important it is to pair a healthy diet with exercise. It’s makes the world a difference.
Here’s a recipe I love to make for lunches on the go that’s perfect for preventing hypertension. It’s packed with soy that soothes blood pressure. This salad incorporates tofu, edamame, and snap peas. It’s not only good for you on the inside, but a beautiful lunch on the outside that makes eating it satisfying and enjoyable.
Tofu Edamame Salad in Mason Jars
Ingredients: Serves 2 (Two mason Jars)
• 12 ounces of medium firm tofu (Hodo Tofu is one of my favorites as well as Wo-Chong which is a local family run Tofu shop that serves fresh tofu off trays in Chinatown, San Francisco)
• ½ cup edamame (you can find the ones without shells in the frozen section and boil them-then chill)
• ½ a bell pepper (green, red, or yellow) red and yellow will add sweetness while the green will add a light clean fresh taste that doesn’t overpower the tofu flavor
• 2-4 packets of soy (tamari packets or low sodium soy sauce packets)
• 2 tablespoon sesame oil
• ½ cup minced green onions
1. Cut your tofu into small square pieces so they fit into the mason jars easily (but not too small so that they will break apart and become mush) 6 ounces of tofu per jar
2. Place the tofu on the bottom of the jar and then layer with the chilled edamame (1/4 cup per jar), peppers (1/4 pepper per jar), and ¼ cup green onions last
3. Drizzle sesame oil over it and close the jar. Serve these lovely zen like tofu jars with a packet or two of tamari. Drizzle the soy sauce over the tofu and shake it up before eating. And if you really want to up the ante, serve with a pair of wooden disposable eco- friendly chopsticks.