High blood pressure, or hypertension, can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Here are some evidence-based tips to help manage high blood pressure:
Manage stress: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Finding ways to manage stress, such as listening to calming music or reducing workload, can help lower blood pressure.
Eat dark chocolate or cocoa: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain plant compounds that help relax blood vessels, which may lower blood pressure. For the strongest effects, use non-alkalized cocoa powder with no added sugars.
Lose weight: Losing weight can significantly lower high blood pressure, especially when paired with exercise. This can help your blood vessels do a better job of expanding and contracting, making it easier for your heart to pump blood.
Quit smoking: Smoking is a strong risk factor for heart disease and can temporarily increase blood pressure. Quitting smoking can help lower this risk.
Cut added sugar and refined carbs: Increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to higher blood pressure levels. Refined carbs, such as those found in white flour, can also cause problems. Following a low carb diet may help reduce blood pressure levels.