They opened by noting that high blood pressure is a factor in 15% of the deaths in the U.S. Then they went on to give a list of things that we can do on our own to lower our blood pressure:
- Lose weight. This piece of advice is the most important thing you can do. In a recent study of a large group of people -- including those already at an ideal weight as well as the over-weight -- those who achieved a loss of 7.7 pounds were half as likely to have high blood pressure.
- Take power walks. Those who took up power walks 30 minutes a day for five days a week dropped an average of 8 points in the upper number and 6 points in the lower number. Even if you can't exercise this much, any increased exercise can help.
- Drink hibiscus tea. Weight loss and exercise are on the list of remedies for just about all ailments. But hibiscus tea was new to me. Apparently it's high in anti-oxidents and other good stuff. One study showed that drinking three cups a day for just six weeks lowered blood pressure by 7 points -- a result comparable to taking a blood pressure med.
- Eat dark chocolate. Look for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. BUT only take one square a day.
- Eat potassium rich produce. These include bananas, orange juice, tomatoes and kidney beans. (Our kidneys are largely responsible for lowering blood pressure.)
- Work less. One study showed that those working more than 41 hours a week increased their risk of high blood pressure by 15%.