- Dark chocolate: Research out of Tufts University showed that people who ate 100gm of dark chocolate reduced their systolic pressure (the top number) 12 mm Hg and their diastolic pressure (the bottom number) by 9 mm Hg. It also lowers your bad cholesterol and improves insulin sensitivity (good news for diabetics). These findings are echoed in other studies. The reason dark chocolate does this is yet unknown, but is thought to be a result of chemicals in cocoa known as flavanols.
- Potassium: Studies have been done that found that potassium in your diet can lower your blood pressure by 10 systolic/5 diastolic. Rather than buying potassium supplements, try increasing potassium rich foods in your daily diet. Good sources are: peas, bananas, citrus fruit, dried apricots, fish (especially salmon, flounder, and tuna), green leafy vegetables, legumes, melons, potatoes, poultry, tomatoes, whole-grain cereals, and yogurt.
- CoQ10: Coenzyme Q10 is also known as ubiquinone as it is found in all foods. In fact, your body even makes it’s own. As we age, our bodies produce less. Importantly, use of statins and some beta blockers lower our bodies production of CoQ10. Research has shown that CoQ10 as the potential to reduce blood pressure by 17/10. I’m not normally a fan of supplementation, but if you are above a certain age or are on these medications, supplementation should be considered.
- Exercise: Unfortunately, the old myth that exercise is bad for your blood pressure still carries on. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Aside from the numerous other benefits, exercise can reduce your systolic blood pressure by 10-15 mm Hg. That might not sound like a lot, but a reduction of blood pressure by 5 mm Hg can decrease the risk of stroke by 34% , of heart attack by 21%, and reduce the risk of dementia. If you are new to exercise, start small with walking or aqua aerobics and build slowly. As always, check with your health care provider, such as your chiropractor or GP, before starting any new exercise.
- Hibiscus tea: Several studies have all shown hibiscus tea to reduce blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by over a whopping 26 mm Hg!
- Manage stress: Stressful events have been shown to cause a spike in blood pressure. With prolonged stress, it is possible for blood pressure to remain elevated for a prolonged period. We might not be able to remove the stress from our lives, but we can relieve our stress. Find what relaxes you, whether it’s yoga, nature walks, reading, listening to music, etc that relaxes you and make sure you you set aside some time for that every day.
- Chiropractic: Exciting research has come out of the hospital of the University of Chicago that has found that chiropractic care of the neck can reduce blood pressure by the equivalent of two blood pressure medications taken at the same time! See details in the video below and see you chiropractor.
Again, if you need blood pressure medications carry on taking them. But why assume you can’t do anything else? Start doing these things today and possibly reduce your reliability on those drugs and free yourself of their horrible side effects.
I’m Dr. J, chiropractor, from Pure Chiropractic, Nanaimo. Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.