From the Magazine

5 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure and Heart Attack Risk by 60%

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Trimming as little as 15 points off your blood pressure can cut your heart attack risk by 60 percent. And it’s easy! Here are five simple tips. 

Dip into guacamole.

A medium avocado packs 1,000 mg. of potassium — a mineral that relaxes and opens arteries, so your heart can pump blood more easily to your organs and your skin, says Michael Greger, MD, author of How Not to Diet ($22.75, Amazon). According to UCLA researchers, the healthy fats in avocados also prod your kidneys to flush out artery-tightening sodium — all told, trimming up to 13 points off your blood pressure if you enjoy five avocados weekly.

Turn up the A/C to lower your BP.

Setting the thermostat on your A/C to 78°F — instead of the more common 72°F —  will keep your nervous system, muscles, and arteries more relaxed, lowering your blood pressure by as much as seven points.

Sip this earthy juice.

Drinking half a cup of beet juice twice daily could lower your blood pressure by 10 points in 24 hours — better results than prescription meds! That’s the word from researchers at Colorado State University, who say this drink’s rich stores of plant compounds (betalains) tame artery-tightening inflammation inside blood vessel walls.

Enjoy the outdoors.

Four studies suggest that spending 30 minutes outside each day could trim 12 points off your blood-pressure readings! Explains biologist Martin Feelisch, PhD, when skin is exposed to natural light, it releases an artery-relaxing compound (nitric oxide) into your bloodstream.

Try magnesium.

Magnesium acts like natural calcium-channel blockers, meds that relax arteries and increase blood flow. No wonder scientists at Baylor College of Medicine say taking 400 mg. daily could trim eight points off your blood pressure, and it costs as little as $2 per month! Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing. 

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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