You may be able to significantly lower your blood pressure with nothing more than a daily dose of dark chocolate. In a 2008 Italian study, people who had both prediabetes and high blood pressure managed to do just that by eating 3 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate each day for 15 days. They lowered their systolic BP (the upper number) by 4.5 points and their diastolic (the lower number) by 4.2 points, thanks to the flavonoids — antioxidant compounds — found in dark chocolate. A sustained improvement of that extent could lower your risk of cardiovascular problems by 20 percent over 5 years.
But you need to eat the right type of chocolate. Darker chocolate contains more antioxidants and less of the sugar that may counteract chocolate’s beneficial effects, according to research from Yale. Choose dark chocolate with a minimum of 65 percent cacao.
- MUSIC LOVERS…it’s your day!
Music is a perfect tool for loosening your arteries. Listening to 30 minutes a day of “rhythmically homogeneous” music (that is, anything with a steady beat), combined with breathing exercises, can lower your systolic blood pressure by more than 4 points after 3 months, according to a 2008 Italian study. Breathing in and out with an inhale/exhale ratio of 1 to 2 while listening to slow, steady music relaxes your vessels, says Randall Zusman, M.D., director of the hypertension division at the Massachusetts General Hospital heart center. (You notice he did not say…hard rock or heavy metal.)
Danish researchers who analyzed data from 75,000 men found that those who had two drinks a day were 31 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease. That’s because alcohol, in modest amounts, makes your arteries larger and more pliable, which in turn lowers your blood pressure.
But don’t have more than two drinks — doing so will raise your blood pressure. Scientists still don’t understand why, but Dr. Zusman thinks it could be related to alcohol’s adverse effect on other blood-pressure-regulating pathways. (Of course those who may think they are…or know they are alcoholics should not have even one glass of anything with alcohol. Try an Arnold Palmer…half ice tea and half lemonade. Very refreshing!)
Laughing at a funny movie causes blood vessels to dilate by 22 percent, according to a 2006 study from the University of Maryland. The physical act of laughing causes the tissue forming the inner lining of your blood vessels to expand, allowing for an increase in blood flow and reducing blood pressure, says Dr. Miller. “The magnitude of change is similar to the benefit you might see with aerobic activity, but without the aches and pains,” he says.
- ENJOY ROMANTIC LOVE….Any kind of rest and relaxation is good for the blood pressure. However, if you so desire and are able…here is also a recommendation. In a 2006 study at the University of Paisley, Scotland, they found that keeping your blood flowing by enjoying romantic love (no explanation needed) will in the long-run help your blood pressure.
(Some quotes taken from a writing by Danielle Braff)
- VISUAL PLEASURE: It has long been known that watching fish in a fish tank lowers one’s blood pressure. It is also my belief that observing nature and beautiful art does the same thing. Watch a butterfly as it glides along. Look at the beautiful colors in works of art are some examples.
For your enjoyment…and better health… the sounds of soothing music and beautiful art of two great artists:
- Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky who was one of the most highly appreciated Russian artists of the time, painting many portraits and beautiful scenes. (One shown at top of page.) Makovsky became a victim of a road accident when his horse-driven carriage was hit by an electric tram. He died in 1915 in Saint Petersburg. (Turn on your sound)
ARSEN KURBANOV was born in 1969 in the city of Makhachkala, Dagestan ( the former USSR).