CHOCHOLICS, you’re in luck.
Turns out your favorite candy could do wonders for your heart.
New research has found it lowers blood pressure thanks to flavanols – antioxidants found in cocoa that loosen veins and arteries.
Participants in the University of Surrey study who took cocoa supplements had lower blood pressure and more stretched blood vessels.
Health charity Blood Pressure UK has revealed that one in three adults in the UK suffer from high blood pressure, costing the NHS more than £2.1billion each year.
It is responsible for more than half of all strokes and heart attacks.
Causes of high blood pressure include obesity, excess alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle, and advanced age.
So, with chocolate firmly on the menu, Lucy Gornall is looking at some other tricks to lower blood pressure.
ONLY listening to music can help. Dr. Deborah reveals that a 2008 study from the American Society of Hypertension found that adults with mild hypertension (high blood pressure) experienced a drop in blood pressure after listening to classical, Celtic or Celtic music. Indian for 30 minutes every day for a month.
She says: “Scientists have suggested that this may be because we process sound in the brainstem, which is also the center in the brain that controls the rhythm of our heart and breathing, as well as our blood pressure.”
“MEDITATION is a form of relaxation therapy,” says Dr. Deborah.
“During meditation, the person becomes calm, learns his mind and develops acceptance, tolerance and reflection.”
An Australian study found that workers who meditated in their office chair for just 15 minutes showed a significant drop in blood pressure.
“Meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) which induces feelings of calm and relaxation, associated with slow heart rate and lower blood pressure,” says Dr. Deborah.
Try it: Inhale deeply and hold your breath for two or three seconds, then exhale slowly.
NOTHING beats a good laugh.
Fortunately, it not only puts us in a good mood, but the fact that laughter can relax us also makes it a useful tool for lowering blood pressure.
Laughter causes your blood vessels to expand by up to 22%, according to a recent study from the University of Maryland.
Another study conducted at Osaka University in Japan also found that those who participated in “laughter interventions” saw their blood pressure drop by 5 mmHg (which is good).
CHECK YOUR PRESSURE
If you don’t fancy going to the doctor to have your blood pressure checked, you might want to invest in an at-home kit, like the Boots Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor (£19.99).
Since high blood pressure may not have any symptoms, checking it yourself is a good way to stay on top of things.
WE love potatoes.
Luckily, starchy vegetables are high in potassium, which chemist Click’s Abbas says can counteract high sodium levels in the body, helping to lower blood pressure.
Research conducted by Harvard University found that potassium relaxes the walls of blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.
Additionally, studies have shown a link between low potassium intake and increased blood pressure, as well as a higher risk of stroke.
HAVE A SOAK
Find yourself a scented candle, steal some of your significant other’s bubble bath, and head to the tub for a pampering session.
You’ll be pleased to learn that a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that blood pressure drops in men who spend ten minutes in a hot, 40°C bath.
BORROW A DOG
ABBAS Kanani, a pharmacist and medical advisor for online pharmacy Chemist Click, says studies have shown that those who had pets had lower resting heart rates and baseline blood pressure.
“It’s probably because pets lessen feelings of stress,” he told Sun Health.
Petting a dog for 15 minutes can lower your blood pressure by 10% according to a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
No chance of approaching a dog? Dr Deborah says: “Recent Australian research has shown that watching animal videos leads to a reduction in blood pressure and a 50% reduction in stress.
“They looked at pictures of Australian quokkas, considered the happiest animals in the world.”
HOORAH, another reason to get dirty between the sheets!
Dr. Deborah says studies have shown that as the frequency of intercourse increases, blood pressure tends to drop.
“Regular sex can also reduce the risk of heart attack.
“In an American study, blood pressure dropped by 13% the day after sex.
“It may be due to the serotonin and endorphins that are released during sex,” she adds.
I’m a doctor – here are 8 simple tricks to stop the silent killer from striking