Tricky Blood Pressure Foods

When Chicken Wears A Mask

The Noble Chicken

In the last 20 years we have been bombarded with the evils of red meat and how it contributes to high blood pressure, heart attacks, obesity, stroke, congestive heart failure, mad cow disease, and somewhere there's probably somebody doing a study on how cow dung is a major contributor to global warming.  The meat of our parents and grandparents and their parents before them is no longer safe to eat according to some.

Forty years ago you couldn't find two chicken dishes on a restaurant menu.  Chicken was poor people's food.  But we learned that if we skinned it and refrained from dropping it in grease to fry it, chicken was actually a tasty and healthy food.  Nearly salt free, low in both calories and cholesterol, chicken became the darling of the health movement.

And Americans bought into it and today each of us consumes nearly 60 pounds of the bird each year. 

Chicken is a guilt free healthy food and the restaurants know that.  Healthy food sells.  But just what are they selling us?

Salt Bombs

Keep in mind that the Recommended Daily Allowance for a male is 2000 calories, 3000 milligrams of salt and 65 grams of fat.  With those amounts as the "healthy goal" let's take a look at some of the "health" foods being sold at popular dining spots.

Chili's offers up something called the Guiltless Grill which is a collection of sandwiches that have reasonable amounts of salt, fat and calories.  However the Buffalo Chicken Ranch sandwich doesn't quite fit the Guiltless Grill profile.  At 1460 calories (excluding beverage) this popular pick eats up most of your daily allowance.  Hmm, just what did you have for breakfast anyway?  But that's not really the bad news.  This number packs 4010 milligrams of salt and 8 grams of fat.

And how about Appleby's, that family friendly place that must own a salt mine somewhere.  Their chicken and rice dish (both healthy foods by themselves) somehow gets transformed into a dinner that has 1880 calories, 13 grams of fat and a bucket of salt at 250 milligrams.

But at least Chili's and Appleby's gives you an entire meal for that investment in salt and fat unlike the very popular Australian Outback chain that presents the Alice Springs Chicken Quesadilla appetizer.  This supposedly Mexican dish served up in an Australian store packs 2141 calories, 3477 mgs of salt and an incredible 133 grams of fat.  The Foster's beer you have with it looks like a health drink by comparison.  And this is an appetizer, imagine totaling up the entire meal.

Alice Springs Chicken Quesadilla

Lowering Blood Pressure Is A Snap

If you are like so many other Americans and eat out at a restaurant or fast food joint on a regular basis as a matter of convenience, think how fast you could reduce your intake of calories, salt and fat if you just cut out two meals a week.  

Not only that, if you replaced those two meals with healthy food, like chicken without a mask, then you are doubling the positive affect by adding antioxidants, good cholesterol,  potassium and fiber all of which play important roles in controlling blood pressure.

You know what?  I'll bet you could even grill a steak and still come in way under in all three categories.

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