Woman's World

High blood pressure? Heal it with guacamole!

A new study suggests that two in three of us are now taking steps to keep our blood pressure in the healthy range—and that’s smart, because preventing pressure spikes single-handedly cuts your risk of heart disease and stroke 50%! To make this task a bree

- —Brenda Kearns

Taming inflammati­on ✓

with olive leaf

A daily 1,000-mg. dose of antioxidan­t-rich olive leaf extract could trim 12 points off your blood pressure in eight weeks, plus help stop prehyperte­nsion from blossoming into full-blown high blood pressure, Belgian studies show. The herb’s active ingredient (oleuropein) flushes away artery-irritating inflammati­on before it can cause blood vessel spasms, the study authors say. One option: Vitacost’s Olive Leaf Extract ($6 for 60 capsules, Vitacost.com). ● Important: Always check with your doctor before taking any supplement for the first time.

Trimming 10 points ✓

with beans

A high blood sugar level can damage your arteries, triggering high blood pressure. Solution: Eat two cups of black beans, lentils or any other legume weekly. Yale researcher­s say the fiber in these foods doubles your body’s ability to control your blood sugar, plus it can lower your blood pressure 10 points in two months.

Reducing harmful ✓ stress hormones with lemon water

Mixing 5 tsp. of lemon or lime juice into five cups of water and sipping this refreshing drink throughout the day could lower your blood pressure 7%, three recent studies suggest. These fruits are rich in a compound (auraptene) that soothes your adrenal glands, reducing their release of pressure-rising stress hormones, says study coauthor Bibi M. Razavi, PH.D. And the water itself helps flush out excess sodium, a troublemak­er that makes blood pressure rise for one in three of us!

Boosting kidney ✓

function with avocado

If your pressure inches up, energetic kidneys can help bring it down by removing trouble-making excess fluids. And one way to energize your kidneys is to eat three avocados weekly. Their healing fats help kidney cells keep fluid levels—and blood pressure—in check, University of Connecticu­t studies show.

Stopping pressure ✓

spikes with seafood

Just eating 18 oz. of shrimp, salmon or any other seafood weekly can control your blood pressure as effectivel­y as following a strict (and bland!) diet, say Harvard University scientists. “Seafood’s protein, potassium and healthy oils all help relax and dilate the arteries that nourish your heart,” explains Michael Roizen, M.D., coauthor of This Is Your Do-over. Not a seafood fan? Get the same great results by eating 3 oz. of meat or poultry, and taking 2,000 mg. of fish oil daily, instead.

Staying serene ✓

with green scenes

Whether you’re sitting in your garden, walking in the park or gazing out the window at a nearby tree, losing yourself in nature can lower your blood pressure as much as 11%! Seeing greenery soothes your central nervous system, reining in pressure-raising stress hormones so effectivel­y that just 20 minutes daily can do the trick, University of California, San Diego, studies show.

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