lower blood pressure

Photo: Greg Kessler

1 of 9
Pop quiz: What's your blood pressure? If you don't know, you could be among the 78 million American adults who have hypertension. That's not a group you want to belong to: High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major contributor to heart disease. I urge every woman to start tracking her BP now—and that includes young adults; a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that 19 percent of people ages 24 to 32 had dangerously elevated blood pressure levels. (See the box at right for what's ideal and what's not.) The good news: You can control high BP. Overwhelming research has demonstrated that easy, natural methods for lowering blood pressure really work, and that even small reductions can significantly lower your cardiovascular risk.

Start by incorporating these six habits into your daily life