You might consider raisins an old-fashioned snack but they’re excellent for your health, portable, and inexpensive. It’s time to revisit this treat from childhood. Raisins might not be as popular as they once were but that doesn’t make them any less healthy for you.
Why do you need heart-healthy snacks? Because our hearts (worldwide) are giving out on us. Heart disease is the #1 killer in the world and the number of deaths climb steadily year after year.Heart disease is the #1 killer in the world.Click To Tweet
Lowering Blood Pressure is Now Critical
One-third of American adults have high blood pressure (hypertension). It’s a staggering statistic.
What you might not know is that one-third of American adults have elevated blood pressure (BP) according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is referred to as pre-hypertension and means your BP is in the range of 120-139 (systolic) and 80-89 (diastolic).
Mayo Clinic explains hypertension, “Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.”
If you ignore pre-hypertension, the risk is high that it will become diagnosed hypertension (high blood pressure). It takes focused changes to your lifestyle and eating habits to keep your heart healthy.
Actively Lower Blood Pressure with Food
Over the last decade, specific foods have been proven to be bad for your heart.
Too much sodium is known to raise your personal risk of heart disease and other conditions. A level teaspoon is the upper limit of what the average person should consume daily. Most Americans (men and women) consume almost double or more. You need some but too much of anything ends up causing problems.
As a rule, foods that are “quick and easy” (made ahead for your convenience) are pretty awful for your heart health. They’re packed with sodium to extend shelf life and add flavor so if you start reading the labels, what you see might shock you.
In the United States, the average consumer takes in one-third of their calories outside the home. One of the biggest culprits (besides salt) that drive caloric count are purchased beverages such as sodas and specialty coffees.
One major drawback to eating out is that we don’t always note the sodium, sugar, calorie, or fat content (and we’re unsure if we’re consuming healthy fats or trans fats) of a menu item.
Even more dangerous for the heart than salt is sugar. Worldwide, we consume more than ever before and it’s showing in our health.Even more dangerous for the heart than salt is SUGAR. Click To Tweet
If you have hypertension or pre-hypertension, limit or avoid these foods…
- Cheese (including cottage cheese)
- Deli meats, rotisserie goods, sausage, and bacon
- Pickles, olives, and condiments (soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing)
- Meat tenderizer, garlic salt, and all other “salt” spices
- Frozen pizzas or other pre-made meals
- Bag or box foods such as potatoes, pasta, and rice
- Soup or pre-prepared food in a can
- Sodas, energy drinks, and other bottled beverages
- Fast food (including Chinese)
- Sugar (in excess of 6 teaspoons per day)
- Coffee (in excess of three cups per day)
- Alcohol (in excess of one glass per day for women, two for men)
Foods that help your heart rather than strain it are what you need. In our modern world, we have access to a variety of delicious and nutritious foods. Lowering blood pressure naturally is not only possible, it’s probably by choosing the foods you eat with care.
The snacks of choice are now chips, snack mixes (that include candy and salted nuts), cookies, crackers, bagged popcorn, pretzels, and pre-prepared foods that are easy and taste good but are packed with calories and other bad things under that “healthy” label.
One that has fallen out of favor is the raisin (dried grapes).
It’s a shame since they’re so good for you. They’re packed with carbohydrates (energy), iron (blood oxygenation), and potassium (required for contraction of the heart muscle).
Eating raisins three times a day (one of those tiny snack size boxes) was found to lower pre-hypertension by as much as 7% over 12 weeks, according to a study done by the American College of Cardiology. They also have an effect on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – the “bad” kind – by as much as 9%.
5 Ways Raisins Are the Right Choice
- Boost energy naturally
- Help regulate bowel movements
- Contribute to good oral health
- Good for your bones
- Fight fatigue and sluggish thinking
Raisins might not be pretty but they remain a snack food that you need to consider. Lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, get energy that lasts all day, and so much more. They’re a vintage sweet treat you need to give another chance!