According to Mayo Clinic cardiologists, keeping your BP below 120/80 cuts your risk of heart disease and stroke in half — but did you know it could help improve your brain health, too? A healthy blood pressure boosts the flow of nutrient-rich blood to your brain, sharpening focus, concentration and recall within a week! Here are five ways to lower your blood pressure and banish brain fog today.
Take a Deep Breath
Slowing your breathing to 10 breaths per minute instead of the more common 16 erases brain fog and lowers blood pressure by six points in five minutes—and it could trim 10 points off your blood pressure long-term, say University of Connecticut researchers. Explains cardiologist Wil Puavilai, M.D., deep breathing calms your brain stem—which allows you to concentrate—plus reduces the production of artery tightening stress hormones.
Try Soothing Music
When you’re feeling tense and scattered, put on harp music in the background as you putter. This angelic sound is so soothing, it drops blood pressure by seven points and sharpens focus in as little as 10 minutes!
Reading Scriptures or a book about positive thinking for 20 minutes daily can lower your blood pressure by 30% and sharpen your focus and mental energy for six hours per book break. UCLA researchers say inspiring reads heighten your brain’s production of an artery relaxing, focus-enhancing hormone (dopamine).
Your liver’s production of coenzyme Q10, which relaxes arteries and energizes brain cells, drops after age 50. But taking 100 mg.of CoQ10 daily can reverse this, trimming up to 17 points off BP and increasing mental energy by 60%. Note: As always check with your doctor before starting any supplement.
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Grill Up Some Squash
Enjoying 1 cup of summer squash daily could lower your blood pressure by 11 points, plus cut your risk of memory lapses by 55%, Canadian researchers say. Squash’s tender skins brim with the artery-relaxing minerals potassium, copper and manganese.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.