Lower your blood pressure by fooling your palate!

Posted:  Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 12:30pm

Imagine overnight oatmeal that tastes like blueberry pie. Or rich chocolate ganache made from avocados!  

These are just two of the recipes that have been prepared by Dr. Patricia Phillips at the Community Center where she is presenting a four-part series on nutrition for better health. The third demonstration in the series “Treating hypertension through better nutrition” will be offered on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. at the Center.

Recipes are adapted from course material at Tulane University where Phillips is participating in its certified culinary medicine program. A board-certified family physician who practices in Yarmouth, Phillips has seen the positive result of reducing salt in diets. “Everything from memory to mood to chronic diseases can benefit from making better food choices,” Phillips explained.

As an example, she has treated a man in his 40s with high blood pressure and high cholesterol who needed to take three medications. When his health insurance changed and he was faced with a higher co-payment, Phillips helped him with a revised diet. After four months, he was able to stop taking two of the medications.

Another patient, a 58-year old woman, had blood pressure of 140/85 and did not want to take medication. Phillips helped her make changes in her diet and three months later the woman’s blood pressure had dropped to 132/80.   

Phillips pointed out, “One in three adults has high blood pressure, which damages blood vessels and causes strokes and heart attacks.”  By demonstrating how to build flavor in food without relying on salt, she provides healthier alternatives for meals. “Herbs, spices, vinegars and mustards are all good alternatives to salt.”

Those attending the Saturday, Nov. 4 program can sample her recipes for savory chicken thigh and white bean stew, sesame broccoli and black bean brownies. The demonstration will provide information about the DASH diet: Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension, including the balance between sodium and potassium that affects blood pressure.

The fourth and final presentation in the series will be on Monday, Dec. 11 and Phillips will take participants through the Hannaford in Boothbay Harbor to explain how to make healthy choices when shopping for food.

For more information about Saturday’s demonstration, call the Community Center at 633-9876.