According to a new report, those with healthy blood pressure are 50 percent less likely to suffer severe COVID complications. But blood pressure–lowering drugs can be pricey and carry unwanted side effects. The good news: Studies reveal that these natural pressure-reducing strategies work even better than meds!
Flex your fingers.
Performing handgrip exercises for two minutes four times daily can lower blood pressure more effectively than walking or jogging. That’s the word from Canadian researchers, who found the strategy reduced participants’ blood pressure by 15 points within eight weeks. People in the study used handgrip exercisers (buy on Amazon, $8.99). But for an even easier option, simply squeeze a rubber ball, then release and repeat.
Toss in seeds.
Mixing four tablespoons of milled flaxseed into smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal does more than add nutty texture: According to a report published in the journal Hypertension, it can also lower blood pressure by 15 points. Fred Pescatore, M.D., explains, “Fatty acids found in the seeds combat high blood pressure by enhancing blood flow.”
Putter in the garden.
Tending to weeding or other yard work lets you soak up the fall sunshine. That’s key since the sun’s UV rays boost body levels of nitric oxide, a compound that’s crucial for keeping blood pressure low. Indeed, investigators report that enjoying a half hour of sunlight per day reduces odds of developing high blood pressure by 40 percent.
Try this extract.
“Polyphenols in grapeseed extract (buy on Amazon, $14.99) keep arteries elastic and ease inflammation that can lead to high blood pressure,” notes Dr. Pescatore, who advises supplementing with 150 mg. of the extract each day. That’s the dose that dropped blood pressure by 11 points in a mere four weeks.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.