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2. Stress. Stress can very strongly raise blood pressure levels. In fact, one problem that doctors have is that some patients' blood pressure readings will always be higher in their office simply because the patient is subconsciously nervouse about the readings. This is one of the many reasons I recommend a (good, upper arm cuff) blood pressure monitor so you can measure it at home.
If I'm honest, I have to admit that I really do not know what pushed my blood pressure into early stages of hypertension. What I can tell you is that I tried several changes and the combination of them dramatically lowered my blood pressure over several weeks.
CAUTION: Always consult with your doctor before making any lifestyle change, especially if you have high blood pressure or some other medical condition.
Here is what I did and it lowered my systolic by 30+ points and my diastolic by 20+ points.
1. Zinc. I quit taking supplemental zinc and instead concentrated on consuming zinc-rich foods.
2. Coffee. I quit coffee except for one cup in the early morning.
3. Black Tea. I began drinking again glasses of black ice tea per day. You'll have to buy my book for details, but black tea is a proven blood-pressure lowering drink.
4. Raw, Unprocessed Cocoa. I also drink 2-3 cups of raw, unprocessed cocoa per day. See my link on Loco for Cocoa for more details.
5. Salt. I watched my salt intake very carefully. I actually got to the point where I do not any salt to my food. And, to be honest, I do not miss it any more. (Most men do not realize the negative impact that excess salt can have according to the studies. See my links on The Many Ways Salt Can Kill You and Salt and Erectile Dysfunction for more information.
6. UPDATE: Dietary Nitrates. This I added later: beets and other high nitrate foods. See my link on A Review of Beet the Odds by Nathan Bryan for more information. But a teaser: these can lower blood pressure for up to 24 hours after consumption!
Now I have to admit that I don't know which of these five actually lowered the blood pressure. My opinion is that what really made the difference is #3 and #4. When I began consuming tea and raw cocoa, I saw my blood pressure drop dramatically. In fact, I have had a couple of readings around 95/60 and so backed off on the cocoa, as I do not want to go too low!
Also, for those of you with hypertension or pre-hypertension, keep in mind that I already do a lot of things to hold down my blood pressure, including eating lot of grains, fruits and vegetables, especially those outlined in my book and daily exercise. However, put it all together and perhaps you can achieve similar results. (And work with your doctor first!)
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