WASHINGTON, DC – (July 13, 2009) – According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about two-thirds of people over the age of 65 have high blood pressure. What’s more, they report that if you haven’t had it by the time you reach age 55, there is a 90 percent chance you will end up with it during your lifetime. It is something that almost all of us will encounter in our lifetime. But the good news is that watching what you eat can go a long way toward helping you avoid high blood pressure and get the problem under control.

“Having high blood pressure is common and it can be quite dangerous,” explains Enzo Febbraro, the co-owner and executive chef of D’Acqua Ristorante, located in Washington, D.C. “Making some simple changes to our diet can have a big impact on helping us avoid getting high blood pressure, or even lowering it if we already have it.”

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a consistent blood pressure of over 140/90 mmHg. Those with readings between 120/80 and 139/89 are considered to have prehypertension, and are likely to develop hypertension if changes are not made to avoid it. Our blood pressure normally rises and lowers throughout the day, but it’s when it stays elevated that it becomes dangerous. According to the NIH, high blood pressure can lead to atherosclerosis, heart disease, kidney disease and even blindness.

Along with being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, what you eat has a big impact on high blood pressure. Healthy eating can help you avoid getting it and if you already have it, can reduce it.

Keep these tips in mind when you eat, to help keep blood pressure under control:

  • Eat healthy. You have heard it before, but it is important to eat healthy each day in order to keep a healthy body. Get plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Go low-fat. Look for no fat or low fat options of foods, such as when you buy dairy or dairy alternative products. Cut back on the amount of butter or margarine you use.
  • Keep it whole. Try to eliminate or reduce the amount of processed foods that you eat, especially foods like frozen meals, lunch meats, bacon, and chips, which are all high in sodium.
  • Dark chocolate. Research has found that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate, not milk chocolate, can be beneficial to lowering blood pressure.
  • Skip the salt. Avoid salting foods, instead opt for spices to give food more flavor.
  • Make it gradual. Trying to make the changes overnight may be difficult. But if you stick with making gradual changes you will find success and improve your health.
  • Limit alcohol. If you drink, you should consider cutting back to help improve your blood pressure. Also, try to avoid smoking or being around second-hand smoke, which can raise blood pressure.

“Changing the way we eat seems hard to do at first,” adds Febbraro. “But if you make some small, gradual changes you are going to see results. And that is well worth the effort. This is a serious condition that we have to be mindful of and keep in check.”

About D’Acqua Ristorante

D’Acqua Ristorante, owned by Chefs Enzo Febbraro and Francesco Ricchi, is located at 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Washington D.C. The restaurant, which features a coastal Italian menu with a seafood emphasis, was opened by the two highly acclaimed chefs in 2006, and has quickly earned great reviews. Enzo, a native of Naples, Italy, has traveled throughout Europe, preparing dishes at high-end restaurants and hotels. Francesco, a Florentine native, has owned a number of award-winning establishments, and has also hosted President George W. Bush. The restaurant is a popular political dining establishment that is frequented by the Washington elite, including senators, members of congress, and White House staff. To learn more about D’Acqua Ristorante, visit the Web site at http://www.dacquadc.com