When you’re carrying extra pounds, you have a larger blood volume to pump through your blood vessels, increasing the pressure on your artery walls. Extra belly fat—even if you’re not overweight— also ups your risk of high blood pressure. While you can’t completely outsmart your genes, stay as close to your ideal body weight as possible. In a 2013 Australian study, overweight people who lost 10 percent of their weight saw about an 11.3-point drop in systolic blood pressure. Try one of our weight-loss plans or slimming recipes if you need some ideas and support to get started losing weight.