Stroke Awareness and Blood Pressure (Part B) by Tania Logan (Dietitian)

Ilze GroblerDietetics

This week is Stroke Awareness week and I am encouraging everyone to make simple changes to their diet that can help reduce their blood pressure, which is the biggest risk factor for stroke.

In my last article, I discussed the top 5 foods that help lower blood pressure.  Today, I will focus on the 5 things that we need to eat less of to help lower blood pressure.


  1. Eat less salt

Salt contains sodium which increases blood pressure.  Reducing the salt you add to cooking or sprinkle on your food will help reduce your blood pressure.  Vegetable salt, cooking salt, onion salt, celery salt, garlic salt, rock salt, and sea salt are different types of salt.  They all contain sodium and have the same effect on blood pressure.

Instead of salt, try flavouring food with fresh or dried herbs and spices.  Garlic, onion, chives, parsley, basil, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, mustard can all add flavour to your food.  You can still season your food with pepper too.


  1. Avoid sauces and other flavourings that are high in salt

Many commercial sauces, chutneys, pickles, and other condiments are very high in salt.  These include tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce.  Gravy powder, stock cubes and stock powder, as well as packet and canned soups are very high in salt.  Use less of these flavourings, and perhaps look for lower salt varieties that are available in the supermarket.


  1. Eat less processed meat

Meats like corned beef, sausages, bacon, ham, salami, and devon all have salt added during processing.  They are much higher in salt than fresh red meat, chicken, or fish.  Choose fresh, lean meat more often and reduce your intake of processed meats including sausages, bacon, and ham.


  1. Avoid processed foods that are high in salt

Many snack foods are very high in salt.  Avoid potato chips, pretzels, flavoured crackers, salted nuts, and other flavoured, savoury snacks.  Choose alternative snacks like raw nuts, lower salt, wholegrain crackers, fresh fruit, or low fat yoghurt.

Limit your intake of takeaway foods, which are also generally very high in salt.   Takeaway chicken, battered or crumbed fish, chips, burgers, pizza, as well as Chinese, Indian and Thai meals, are all very high in salt.


  1. Alcohol

Alcohol can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 2 drinks a day (eg 1 – 2 glasses of wine or 2 stubbies of mid strength beer).  Include 1 or 2 alcohol free days a week.


If you would like help with lowering your blood pressure, or practical assistance for incorporating dietary changes, please contact me. You can find my contact details and how to book an appointment on our website at

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