Those watching their blood pressures may want to incorporate the findings from research on possible beneficial effects of potassium and polyunsaturated fat into their meal plans. Doing so does require a little more knowledge than merely cutting back on sodium, but there are plenty of foods that are both low in sodium and high in potassium or polyunsaturated fat.
Among the richest sources of potassium are:
* Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, peaches)
* Unsalted nuts (almonds, pecans, peanuts)
* Avocado and unsalted wheat bran
* Baked potato and cooked white or lima beans
* Fresh, lean meat, poultry and fish
* Bananas, orange juice and grapefruit juice
All of these foods are usually permitted on moderate-sodium diets as long as no salt or other sodium-containing ingredients are added. However, on strict low-sodium diets, portion sizes of most foods are limited, and certain shellfish and organ meats are excluded. Processed meats are not suitable for sodium-restricted diets.
Most vegetable oils are good sources of polyunsaturated fat -- except for peanut and olive oils. These two oils contain large amounts of mono-unsaturated fat, which has not been shown to benefit blood pressure. However, the mono-unsaturated fats have little effect on blood cholesterol, and therefore make a good substitute for some of the cholesterol-raising saturated fat in the diet. Walnuts and unsalted salmon, herring, mackerel and albacore tuna are also good sources of polyunsaturated fat. Dieters should not overdo any fats, though, for all are high in calories. High-fat diets are also suspect in cancers of the breast and colon.