World Heart Day is this week. According to the American Heart Association, in the United States, about 77.9 million (1 out of every 3) adults have high blood pressure. Of considerable alarm is the projection that by the year 2030, these rates will increase by almost 10 percent! Therefore, it is important to know your blood pressure levels and take these simple steps to reduce high blood pressure.
- Eat Red Grapes — a study from the University of Connecticut found that men with metabolic syndrome who ate the powdered equivalent of roughly two cups of grapes daily for a month lowered their systolic blood pressure by six points, thanks in part to the resveratrol in dark red fruits.
- Decrease Sodium — Sodium causes you to retain water in your blood, which adds volume and boosts pressure. That constant high pressure on your arteries exposes you to a greater risk of heart attack, stroke.
- Drink Black Tea — Australian researchers found that people who consumed three cups of black tea every day for six months saw a two-point drop in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
- Try Yoga — the slow breathing and meditative practice of yoga decrease stress hormones, which can reduce high blood pressure.
- Work Out — at least three times a week, do a cardio workout to get your heart pumping. Find something you like to do, even just a walk, so you’re more likely to stick with it. In one study, hypertensive patients who went for walks at a brisk pace lowered their blood pressure significantly.
- Drink Beet Juice — drinking 17 ounces of beet juice can yield a five-point drop in blood pressure according to an Australian study.
- Laugh —laughing out loud at something funny can cause blood vessels to dilate by as much as 22 percent according to a study from the University of Maryland.
- DASH — Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a plan developed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood institute. A typical DASH menu focuses on fruits and veggies, whole grains and protein from poultry, fish, beans and nuts while minimizing added sugars and salt. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that a DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure by up to 16 points in four months in people with high blood pressure.