Nearly half of Americans (and maybe you…) now have high blood pressure. Thanks to COVID quarantining, worn-down eating habits, knocking back a few more cocktails, gym closures, forgetting or not adequately filling our meds, disrupted sleep and more emotional stress… yes, for many, our BP is on the rise. Here are a couple of do-able actions, since stress and limitations are still a reality:
1. All Movement Counts: Move with purpose during the day even if you can’t build in exercise time. Get up (from your chair), get down (on the floor), walk a few more steps, take smaller loads from the dryer to the bed to fold, you get the idea.
2. Salt Is The Enemy of Your Arteries: Salt stiffens arteries like a Twizzler. But be mindful of sneaky sources of sodium like processed food, sugar and refined carbs. (A refined carb is any white food like white rice, breads or pastries.) Whole grains (like popcorn, oatmeal) will make your arteries more like Red Vines – fat and bendy, improving blood flow to and from your heart and organs.
3. Eat Some Dark Chocolate: Yep, skip the sugar in Twizzlers or Red Vines and get at some dark chocolate known to lower blood pressure and inflammation, courtesy of the flavonoids that help widen your blood vessels. A square or two of dark chocolate with 60-70% cacao is immeasurably satisfying and good for your heart, too. And if learning this little nugget reduced your stress, you’ve just lowered your BP in the one minute it took to read this – well done!
Photo: Stella Sofia, Unsplash