Blood Pressure Awareness

By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

May 18th, 2018 

High blood pressure affects people of all ages, races and genders. High Blood Pressure can lead to stroke and is the fourth leading cause of death in this nation. Suffering from a stroke can also lead to paralysis, confusion, speech impairment, and depression. According to the American Heart Association®, high blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure equal to or greater than 140/90, where 140 mmHg (millimeters mercury) is systolic blood pressure and 90 mmHg is the diastolic blood pressure.


The importance behind checking your blood pressure:

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. Having your blood pressure checked is the only way to find out if it is high, this is why high blood pressure is often called the “the silent killer” – there are no symptoms.

Although you cannot control race, heredity or age there are factors you can control.


Controllable Risk Factors:

  • Obesity: you are more likely to develop high blood pressure if your body mass index is 30.0 or greater.
  • Sodium Intake: A high-sodium diet may increase blood pressure in some people.
  • Lack of Physical Activity: Being physically inactive can lead to becoming overweight, which may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Stress: Responses to stress vary from person to person, and can cause increases in blood pressure.


Find out your numbers:

  1. Visit your physician regularly to get your blood pressure checked. A desirable blood pressure is 120/80. Get your blood work taken annually.
  2. Lab work gives an accurate measure of your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


Follow a healthy lifestyle:

  • Exercise Regularly
  • Eat a Healthy Diet
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Limit Alcohol Intake and Quit Smoking!

For more information on heart disease and stroke prevention, visit the American Heart Association


White Bean and Quinoa Burgers with Avocado

These burgers get protein from quinoa and beans without falling short on flavor. In fact, they’ll be your new weeknight staple and perfect for Meatless Mondays. Consider making a double batch so there’s extra to freeze. On a busy night, just remove them from the freezer and thaw them.

Makes: 5 Servings


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can no-salt-added cannellini beans (rinsed, drained)
  • 1 medium avocado, halved and pitted, and 1/2 medium avocado, cut into 5 slices, divided use
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sriracha sauce or other hot chile sauce
  • 5 whole-wheat hamburger buns (lowest sodium available)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (sliced)
  • 10 lettuce leaves
  • 10 slices red onion (optional)



  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. Put the beans in a medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash them well. Add one half of the whole avocado. Mash well. Add the egg, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and pepper, stirring well to combine.
  3. Dice the remaining half of the whole avocado. Gently fold it and the quinoa into the bean mixture.
  4. Using your hands, form the bean mixture into 5 patties. Place the patties on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until browned.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and sriracha sauce.
  6. Toast the buns.
  7. Place the burger patties on the bottom buns. Spread the patties with the sriracha mayo. Top with, in order, the tomato slices, lettuce, onion slices, and the remaining avocado slices. Put the top buns on the burgers.

Recipe: American Heart Association®.