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Blood Pressure : Keeping it Down
John Morley, MBAcC, MMAA, MSocBiol.Med, B.Ac,
Ten Ways to keep your blood pressure down

A blood pressure reading above 140/90 indicates hypertension. It's a sign that your heart's working extra hard to get blood through your body's circulatory system. In time, an overworked heart becomes enlarged and less efficient, and the added pressure leads to scarring and hardening of your arterial walls. Men with hypertension are seven times more likely to have a stroke and four times more likely to suffer a heart attack. So there's ample reason to get those numbers down. But how? Researchers say simple changes in lifestyle can lower blood pressure without taking the pleasure out of life. Here are 10 proven techniques.

1. If you don't drink coffee, don't start. Caffeine tends to boost blood pressure in people who don't drink it very often.

2. Rent a Blackadder or Victor Borge Video, or any other film that makes you laugh. A good chuckle relaxes your body and may release endorphins, the brain's natural stress-reducing chemicals.

3. Don't Shout. Simply avoiding loud, aggressive tones may help keep blood pressure down during an argument.

4. Eat in French and Italian Restaurants. In European studies, 47 patients with mildly high blood pressure who received a daily 600-milligramme dose of garlic powder (roughly three to four cloves worth) showed an average drop in blood pressure of 11%.

5. Go For Broccoli. Boosting Fibre intake is one of the most important pressure-reducing dietary changes you can make.

6. Get Fit. There is evidence that moderate weight-training may be as effective as medication in lowering blood pressure, and regular aerobic exercise not only lowers blood pressure, it can help you prevent it in the first place and also promote better lymphatic drainage.

7. Take C and see. Two separate studies found people with the highest levels of vitamin C had the lowest blood pressure - and vice versa. Other research suggests potassium brings blood pressure down.

8. Bone up on Calcium. Studies have shown that increasing calcium intake to normal levels can bring high blood pressure down in some people. If you have high blood pressure, make sure you're getting at least 800 milligrammes, equal to just under three cups of skimmed milk.

9. Don't Let the Job Kill You. The best stress-busting tactics for the workplace include taking five-minute daydreaming breaks every few hours, a brisk walk at lunchtime, and learning to delegate those maddening little details.

10. Cut Back on Salt. If you have high blood pressure, probably the most important thing you can do is to cut back on salt. Apart from not sprinkling it on food or using it during cooking, try to avoid processed foods, which are usually high in salt.

© Copyright Wholistic Research 2002
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