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Surprising high blood pressure treatment is tasty treat you’ve already got at home

High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms and if left untreated it can seriously increase risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Blood pressure is recorded using two numbers, and is considered high if a reading is above 140/90 mmHg.

To establish if someone has high blood pressure, several readings should be taken each day and the average calculated as to best determine if they may be at risk.

People more at risk of high blood pressure are those who are overweight, eating a diet high in salt and not being physically active.

While some people may require medication to lower their blood pressure, for others, it can be both controlled and prevented through eating a low-fat, balanced diet.

Can chocolate help lower blood pressure?
According to health experts, food products rich in flavonoids, can help widen blood vessels – which in turn can help reduce blood pressure.

Flavonoids are found in cocoa products, such as cocoa powder, dark chocolate and, to a lesser extent, milk chocolate.

Flavonoids found in dark chocolate have proved this theory further establishing their ability to help reduce blood pressure.

Dr Karin Ried from the University of Adelaide, Australia said: “Flavanols [a type of flavanoids] have been shown to increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and consequently may lower blood pressure.

“There have, however, been conflicting results as to the real-life effects of eating chocolate.

“We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure.”

In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, flavonoid foods to help with high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases was investigated.

The aim of the study was to review the effectiveness of different flavonoid-rich foods on cardiovascular disease and risk factors including blood pressure.

It concluded that consuming foods such as cocoa in moderation can help to lower blood pressure and as such reduce a person’s risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Other foods that can help lower blood pressure

Other foods to help lower blood pressure include:

Citrus fruits
Green leafy vegetables
Salmon
Berries
Beans
Pistachios
Beetroot
Cutting down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables is crucial when it comes to safely managing your blood pressure.

“The Eatwell Guide highlights the different types of food that make up our diet, and shows the proportions we should eat them in to have a well-balanced and healthy diet,” says the NHS.

The national health body added: “Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.”