Many take medication to treat high blood pressure, but diet can also have an impact. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. While many take medication, diet can also have an impact. Did you know certain foods can actually help keep your blood pressure in check?
“Blood pressure can be controlled by many factors besides just going on medication," says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian and author of "The Small Change Diet." "Maintaining a healthy body weight is really really important. How do we do that? By incorporating lots of healthy foods, and certain foods particularly can help lower blood pressure.”
She showed NY1 which foods may impact our pressure. First, low fat dairy.
"Low-fat dairy has calcium and vitamin D, and the two together have been found in studies to help lower blood pressure," she says.
Gans also says Popeye was onto something. Spinach is rich in foliate, magnesium and potassium, making it a super food for controlling blood pressure. Same with fatty fish or foods loaded with Omega-3s.
"Omega-3 fatty acids are so good for you because they have an anti-inflammatory effect which really is beneficial to your heart. And all it takes is the recommendation of two servings per week, which is about 3.5 ounces of fish per serving," Gans says.
A few other heart-health super-foods include bananas, which are loaded with potassium, which helps regulate the sodium in our bodies.
Beans are great because they are packed with potassium, magnesium and fiber, all good things for your heart, blood pressure and even your cholesterol.
If you are looking for something sweet, a little dark chocolate can help.
"Dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids, can also be beneficial for our blood pressure. According to a study, it's 30 calories a day of dark chocolate, which is one small square. The key is to stick to the one small square and not eat the entire bar," Gans says.
It's important to remember that if you do have high blood pressure, consuming these foods won’t necessarily be a magic bullet. It's all about lifestyle. Incorporating these heart-healthy foods, along with maintaining a healthy body weight and getting regular exercise, may just help take some of the pressure off your heart.