Keeping your blood pressure below 120/80 cuts the risk of heart disease and stroke in half. And giving yourself permission to relax trims 16 points (or more!) off your BP — better results than some prescription meds
Look for lilies.
Lilies, roses, sunflowers… so many beautiful flowers are in bloom right now, and strolling around gazing at those cheerful pops of color for just 20 minutes a day could trim 16 points off your blood pressure, say University of Connecticut investigators. Explains cardiologist May Noda, M.D., a daily reminder that you’re connected with nature tamps down the production of the artery-tightening stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline.
The sunny solution!
Forgot sunscreen on a jaunt outside? That’s actually great news for your blood pressure! Boston University scientists say soaking up 10 minutes of UV light daily prompts your skin to make enough artery-relaxing vitamin D-3 to cut high BP risk by 58 percent.
Sip tropical tea.
There’s nothing like savoring iced tea on a summer day. And relaxing with two 12-oz. glasses of tangy, fruity hibiscus tea daily lessens the odds of hypertension by 65 percent. BP already a little high? It’ll lower it by as much as 13 points, Tufts University scientists say. That’s because natural fruit acids in hibiscus act like artery-relaxing ACE inhibitors.
Upgrade your lunch.
Jazzing up your snack or side dish with 1⁄3 cup of nuts daily reduces hypertension risk by 50 percent and lowers blood pressure by eight points, Spanish scientists say. Cardiologist Fay Yin, M.D., says nuts’ healthy fats and minerals keep blood vessels relaxed, plus block the formation of artery-stiffening plaque.
Pamper your feet.
Enjoying a nightly sit on your front porch with your tootsies in a bowl of warm water lowers your BP by 15 points in a week, Canadian research suggests. When the temperature of your feet rises, your blood vessels respond by releasing an artery-relaxing compound called nitric oxide
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.