Keeping your blood pressure below 120/80 prevents heart attacks and strokes, plus boosts immunity — all good! The only snag now? Columbia University researchers say constant worries can cause blood pressure to stay stubbornly high. To keep arteries relaxed and blood pressure low — even on days you’re not feeling calm, try these completely natural tricks.
Look for Cardinals
All that time you’re spending in your backyard these days is good for body and soul! Indeed, a review of 20 studies suggests 15 minutes a day of enjoying the antics of birds, squirrels and other critters can trim up to 7 points off your blood pressure in 24 hours. Explains study co-author Ken Hayashi, Ph.D., feeling close to nature calms the adrenal glands, reducing the production of pressure-spiking stress hormones.2. Bite into Sesame Chicken
Embrace Sesame Oil
Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to your daily diet (ideally, in place of less-healthy fats), and your blood pressure could drop by 32 points, plus you could lose up to 12 pounds in three months! That’s the word from University of Arkansas researchers, who say sesame oil contains a rare metabolism-boosting compound (sesamin) that keeps blood vessels relaxed — even when stress levels soar!
Make a Soda Swap
Skip two sodas for sugar-free iced tea — black, green, oolong or white — and your blood pressure could drop by 20 points this summer, Harvard researchers say. That’s because soda contains hefty doses of pressure-spiking sodium and sugar, while tea offers artery-relaxing compounds (polyphenols). Tip: Triple polyphenols by dunking the tea bag 10 times.
Try This Natural Relaxer
Great news from University of Colorado researchers: Women who take 100 mg. daily of CoQ10, a natural artery-relaxing compound, keep their blood pressure 17 points lower, even during high-stress times. “For best results, choose ubiquinol — a form of CoQ10 that’s three times better absorbed than older formulations,” suggests Travis Stork, M.D., author of The Doctor’s Diet. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.