High blood pressure can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. The condition can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. While some people may require medication to lower their blood pressure, for others, high blood pressure can be both controlled and prevented through eating a low-fat, balanced diet. Cutting your salt intake is also key, as this has been known to raise blood pressure readings.
But another food which has been shown to lower blood pressure is dark chocolate.
A review of 15 trials suggested cocoa-rich chocolate reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
You should look to choose high quality chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 per cent cocoa, and eat a single square, or one ounce, each day to reap the benefits.
Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is another recommendation for people with high blood pressure.
One fruit in particular which has been found to have high blood pressuring properties is watermelon.
The fruit which proves popular to eat in the summer time contains an amino acid called citrulline, which is believed to help manage high blood pressure.
Citrulline helps the body to produce nitric oxide, which is a gas that relaxes blood vessels and encourages flexibility in a retires.
Both of these changes can aid blood flow and lead to the lowering of high blood pressure.
One study demonstrated how watermelon extract could reduce blood pressure in obese adults with prehypertension or mild hypertension.
The participants blood pressure was found to be reduced in the ankles and brachial arteries – the main artery in the upper arm.
Fruits and vegetables are good for high blood pressure in general because they contain potassium.
Potassium is a key mineral the body relies on to function properly, and it can balance out the negative effects salt can have on blood pressure.
“Your kidneys help to control your blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body. The more fluid, the higher your blood pressure,” explains Blood Pressure UK.
“Your kidneys do this by filtering your blood and sucking out any extra fluid, which it then stores in your bladder as urine. This process uses a delicate balance of sodium and potassium to pull the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting channel that leads to the bladder.
“Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove the water. By eating more fruit and vegetables, you will increase your potassium levels and help to restore the delicate balance. This will help your kidneys to work more efficiently – and help to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level.”
Alongside diet changes, certain exercises are recommended to help lower high blood pressure.