[custom_frame_center shadow=”on”]high-blood-pressure[/custom_frame_center] If you’re a big fan of eating out or ordering takeaways, you’re probably sabotaging the health of your heart. Follow these seven easy tips to help you choose dishes that will help lower high blood pressure without compromising on taste.

You know the drill. It’s old news. A lifestyle that contains lots of takeaways or restaurant meals can cause heart damage, raise your blood pressure, reduce your energy levels and pile on the kilos. Whether you’re an eternally ravenous university student heading for a pizza fix or a businessman who seems to move constantly from dinner meetings to restaurant gatherings, there’s no doubt that meals not made at home contain more kilojoules, more saturated fats and more salt – factors that are thought to lead to high blood pressure.

We discussed high blood pressure, or hypertension, in some depth in our May 2014 blog ‘High blood pressure. What is it? How to prevent it.’. Now, recent studies indicate that young adults who eat takeaway meals regularly are showing symptoms of pre-hypertension, or slightly elevated blood pressure, putting them at very high risk of high blood pressure in later life.

When you cook at home, you can control what you eat. ‘But head out to your local restaurant and that’s when your strict diet can start to come unstuck,’ states the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa. Here, courtesy of this excellent organisation, are seven tips to help you avoid sabotaging your health when choosing items from restaurant menus:

1. Portion control.  Unless you’re fond of restaurants serving nouvelle cuisine, the amount of food served at an eatery or takeaway is generally far larger than what you’d dish up at home. Don’t fall into the ‘I have to eat everything put in front of me’ trap. Instead, share courses with your companion, ordering a starter, main and salad between you. If your companion is vegetarian and wells up at the thought of your steak, take a doggie bag for your lunch the next day.   
2. Check the bread basket. Choose wholegrain or seeded breads and avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread. If you’ve ordered a starch with your meal, such as a baked potato or rice, ask your waiter to remove the breadbasket altogether.
3. Buffet bonanza. Buffets are often the downfall of many a healthy eating regime. Instead, load your plate with plenty of colourful vegetables, salads and some lean protein. Skip the creamy dressings and choose a splash of oil and vinegar instead. The Italians have been doing it for centuries, and their diet is known for being heart-healthy.
4. The clue’s in the name. You can usually spot the healthier dishes on a menu by looking out for these key giveaway words – grilled, steamed, stir-fried or sautéed. Dishes prepared with these methods tend to contain fewer kilojoules and are lower in fat than fried foods.
5. Go off side. Your dish comes with a side of French fries? Resist them! Opt for a baked potato (hold the gloopy sauce), a salad or some veggies instead. (Try to avoid creamed spinach, though. It’s likely to contain a lot of unhealthy fats.)
6. Fabulous fresh fish. South Africa has some of the finest fish in the world, so take advantage of that when you eat out. Not only are our sustainably caught fish delicious, they’re also low in ‘bad’ fats and high in essential omega-3 fats. Choose grilled over fried, and have your butter sauce served on the side inside of over the fish.
7. The dessert dilemma. Struggling to resist that malva pudding? If you can’t say no, share it with your dining companion. And don’t ignore heart-healthy choices such as fresh fruit salad.

For safe and effective natural treatment of high blood pressure and its symptoms, try Hypertension Formula™. The formula has anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory actions that support the heart and improve the circulation, helping to lower blood pressure. Let’s face it: if you are getting an education, it makes sense to invest in the future of your body and brain function too.

Acknowledgements & Photo credits

Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.


  1. D. Y. B. Seow, B. Haaland, T. H. Jafar. The Association of Prehypertension With Meals Eaten Away From Home in Young Adults in Singapore. American Journal of Hypertension, 2015; DOI: 10.1093/ajh/hpv027
  2. Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa. Eating out the heart-healthy way: seven golden rules.

Photo credits

  1. Image of heart courtesy of geralt / Pixabay.com