You know that keeping a lid on your blood pressure safeguards against heart attacks and strokes. Now, new findings from Duke University reveal it also slashes the risk of COVID-19 complications. Thankfully, reducing blood pressure doesn’t have to be a chore or a bore: These summer-friendly strategies are easy — and fun!
Whether you enjoy a glass or two of fresh lemonade or simply squeeze one to two tablespoons of lemon juice into iced tea, sipping lemony drinks daily lowers blood pressure by 10 points in one month, suggests research published in the Latin American Journal of Hypertension. Investigators explain that potent natural compounds in lemon juice (flavonoids and carotenoids) tamp down the inflammation that can cause blood pressure to climb.
Marinate wings in this.
Sesame oil’s light, slightly nutty flavor makes it the perfect addition to marinades and salad dressings. And in a study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, folks who swapped it for their usual cooking oil reduced their blood pressure by 20 points in 45 days. Turns out sesame oil contains a unique compound (sesamin) that keeps blood vessels flexible.
Dawdle over daisies.
Planting, watering, or harvesting your garden for 20 minutes every weekday lowers your blood pressure by 12 points in less than eight weeks, according to a study in HortScience. That’s an effect better than brisk walking for 30 to 45 minutes five times weekly! Researchers explain that tending to plants provides a stress-relieving form of exercise that combines the blood pressure-lowering effects of both aerobic and resistance activities.
Relax around the firepit.
University of Alabama scientists say that sitting around a backyard campfire and watching the flames dance can trim six points off blood pressure in just 15 minutes. That’s because the fire’s comforting light and crackling sounds calm the central nervous system almost instantly, relaxing arteries to reduce blood pressure as effectively as meditation.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.