A healthy diet is the first step in regaining control of high blood pressure, but don’t let the term “diet” fool you.  This is a lifelong commitment to healthy eating.  Based on the approach known as the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension), patients should focus on consuming lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and low-fat dairy.  By doing so, systolic blood pressure (the top number) could be reduced by as much as 14 points.  Of course, what isn’t included is nearly as important as what is when it comes to a healthy diet.  Those with high blood pressure should also focus on keeping salt and sugar intake to a minimum. 

Magnesium supplements were found to modestly lower blood pressure—by about 2 points in both systolic and diastolic pressure—in a 2016 analysis of 34 clini­cal trials. A 2017 analysis of 11 clinical trials reached a similar conclusion. It looked at the effect of magnesium supplements (365 to 450 milligrams a day) on blood pressure in people with diabetes, prediabetes, or insulin resistance. But supplements aren’t necessary to get those levels of magnesium; a healthy diet supplies plenty of the mineral. For the best sources of magnesium, see the chart here.


The normal blood pressure is supposed to be around 120/80 mm Hg (or a little lower). However, when the blood pressure is 130/90 mm Hg or 140/90 mm Hg, the person is said to have hypertension or high blood pressure. In stage I hypertension, the systolic pressure is between 140-159 mm Hg, while the diastolic pressure is between 90-99 mm Hg. In stage II hypertension, the systolic blood pressure is 160 mm Hg or higher, and the diastolic reading is 100 mm Hg or higher. Figures like 200/110 mm Hg indicate severe hypertension.

Okorie, Eleazu, Nwosu. Nutrient and Heavy Metal Composition of Plantain (Musa paradisiaca) and Banana (Musa paradisiaca) Peels. Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/nutrient-and-heavy-metal-composition-of-plantain-musa-paradisiaca-and-banana-musa-paradisiaca-peels-2155-9600-1000370.php?aid=52304. Published April 27, 2015.
“We have many people with hypertension who come to Pritikin,” says Pritikin’s Associate Medical Director Danine Fruge, MD, “and within three days, many have blood pressures that have dropped so low that we need to reduce their medications or take them off their pills altogether. Yes, just three days. That’s how quickly and powerfully our bodies respond to healthy food, exercise, and other lifestyle changes.”

Also, be sure that the quality chocolate has large quantities (a minimum of 70%) of cocoa - the active ingredient that lowers the blood pressure. Cocoa has antioxidant-rich compounds called flavanoids, which help dilate blood vessels and assist in glucose metabolism. Surprisingly, dark chocolate contains more of these antioxidant compounds than even the famed blueberry.
If you are insulin resistant, you'll definitely want to include weight training in your exercise program. When you work individual muscle groups, you increase blood flow to those muscles. Good blood flow will increase your insulin sensitivity. Depending on your physical condition when you embark on your exercise program, you may need to consult with a health care professional for help increasing to the intensity required to lower your insulin level. Exercise in combination with the supplement L-arginine has been shown to correct the abnormal functioning of blood vessels seen in people with chronic heart failure. However, I would view this more as a drug approach and not necessarily a supplement you would consider using for optimizing health in general. L-arginine probably works through its interaction with nitric oxide. I would consider it an adjunct, not a replacement, for coenzymeQ10, which is a well-proven therapy for heart failure.
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6. Cultivate stress management. You don’t need a meta-analysis of cohort studies to prove stress can raise blood pressure, but they exist. You can’t eliminate stress, but you can minimize its impact. Research shows yoga and meditation create effective strategies to manage stress and blood pressure. If those aren’t your thing, consider other stress-relieving tactics including deep breathing or practicing mindfulness.

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