High blood pressure — also known as hypertension — is a silent killer.
It shows no symptoms. But it doubles your risk of heart disease and stroke.
According to the latest guidelines, if your blood pressure is 130/80 or above, you have high blood pressure.
But what exactly do those numbers mean?
So often the focus has been on that top number… your systolic blood pressure.
Systolic refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries, when the heart squeezes and sends blood throughout the body.
But the lower number — your diastolic blood pressure — is also important.
Diastolic is the pressure in the arteries between heart beats.
Now while your systolic number does count for a little bit more in terms of your risk of heart attack and stroke, health experts note that your diastolic high blood pressure is a close second.
Once you’re “diagnosed” with high blood pressure your doctor can make a persuasive, often very scary argument about why you should consider medication.
But BP meds can have nasty side effects.
Like feeling tired all the time. Headaches. They can send you running to the bathroom. And even interfere with your love life.
When you consider you’re treating a condition that wasn’t making you tired, achy, uncomfortable, or impotent in the first place… it hardly seems fair.
So, what now?
If you’ve just been diagnosed with hypertension, talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes first. Before the prescription pad comes out.
Some pretty straightforward ones work well and have solid research behind them. Don’t let your doc tell you different before trying them…
Being physically active is key. But you don’t have to go overboard. Just a brisk walk every day can drop your pressure 8 points.
Or, get a workout… in the bedroom.
Research suggests there’s a link between greater frequency of sex and lower blood pressure… both systolic and diastolic.
Another easy way to lower BP — and I love this one because it’s so simple — is to spend a little time each day taking slow, deep breaths.
Use your stomach muscles to breath in. And then just relax those same muscles to exhale without any effort. It only takes five minutes a day of breathing like this to see real improvements.
Another trick… that’s also tasty — enjoy a little dark chocolate every day.
Dark chocolate is rich in phenols and flavonoids, which help maintain normal blood pressure levels.
One study found that eating about 30 calories of dark chocolate a day helped to lower blood pressure after 18 weeks… without weight gain or other adverse effects.
It’s important to note that these health benefits were found with dark chocolate.
Milk chocolate does not offer the same protection. So, don’t think eating a Twix each day is going to lower your BP.
Look for dark chocolate containing at least 70% cacao content and indulge a little.
Or eat some blueberries.
Blueberries get their dark blue color from antioxidants known as anthocyanins. And these potent antioxidants have been shown to help lower blood pressure.
Or… and this just might be my favorite BP-lowering trick… get a pet.
Numerous studies have shown that pet owners have lower blood pressure compared to adults without pets in the home.
BP meds can be effective at lowering your blood pressure.
But wouldn’t you rather get there by going for a walk, breathing better, eating chocolate and blueberries, or petting a dog?
They’re headache free, indigestion free, fatigue free, and impotence free.
And compared to the cost of BP meds… well, they’re not actually FREE, but they’re much closer.
And if you’d like to see my 14-second trick to quickly and naturally support healthy blood pressure…
Editor, Patriot Health Alliance