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May 29, 2007

5 Natural Ways To Reduce Blood Pressure

by vitalgirl

Yoga1. Try Yoga: Yoga is a great way to reduce stress, which contributes to hypertension. But there are some poses in particular recommended for those wanting to improve their cardiac health. These include:

* forward bends like virasana and upavista konasana, which are both sitting postures.
* horizontal asanas which allow the heart beat to slow down when they are practised slowly and rhythmically
* asanas like uttanasana and adhomukha savasana

2. Regular exercise: It doesn't have to be yoga. Any regular exercise like walking, biking or gardening is great for lowering blood pressure. Your physician will be able to give you an exercise plan that suits your heart condition and physical fitness levels. It's important not to overdo it too quickly. Tai chi is actually an excellent way to reduce hypertension. Like yoga, it is relaxing, rhythmical, a stress reducer, and has great benefit on the nervous and parasympathetic systems within the body.

Having a regular exercise program may even reduce your need for blood pressure medication.

3. Eat more bananas! Bananas are high in potassium, which is great for reducing hypertension. Other dietary improvements include eating more fruit and vegetables generally. Studies have found 8 servings of fruit and vegetables daily to be preferable, with these having a particular benefit for cardiovascular health:

* Lettuce
* spinach
* cauliflower
* cabbage
* broccoli
* swiss chard
* citrus fruits

And when these changes are combined with exercise, there are more significant improvements in blood pressure.

4. Make sure you get your folic acid: A study by the Harvard Medical School looked at the benefits of folic acid on blood pressure, and found it to be highly beneficial, particularly amongst younger women. It seemed to have a protective effect against hypertension. Younger women who took at least 1mg of folic acid a day lowered their risk of hypertension by 46%. Older women who had reasonable amounts of folic acid daily lowered their risk by 18%. The study was conducted on 156,000 nurses, 19,720 of whom had high blood pressure.

5. Blessed chocolate: Dark chocolate, and foods and supplements that had high levels of cocoa including chocolate confectionary, cocoa sandwich filling and drinks, have been found to be associated with a lower blood pressure and reduced risk of dying from any cause in a small study conducted on 470 elderly men (they were on average 72 7ears old). The study followed them for 15 years, and those that ate more than 2.3 grams of cocoa a day had lower blood pressure than those that didn't. Researchers believe it is the flavanol component of cocoa that provides this beneficial effect.

Before thinking this is a green light to eat lots of chocolate, you'll need about 100 grams of dark chocolate a day to get the blood pressure benefits. That equates to an extra 500 calories per 100 grams, with an average fat content of 30%. Raw cocoa is not well taken by people when it is eaten in large amounts. The calorie and fat considerations need to be taken into account, although there are some chocolate bars out there that have a higher flavanol content.

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For high blood pressure herbs, check this article. For other articles on blood pressure, click here.


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