Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) may think his alter ego's job-related physical exploits can protect him from high blood pressure.
Think again, Ironman! A new study points out it's leisure-time exercise, not physical activity at work, that helps lower your risk of HBP.
Four hours of leisure-time exercise a week cuts your risk of HBP by 19 percent compared with folks who don't get any (that's about 25 percent of North American adults). So even if you do physical work, put on your walking shoes (this will relieve a lot of stress) and stride at 100 steps per minute for 10-15 minutes; then increase your pace to 130 steps per minute for 2.5 minutes. Your goal is 10,000 steps daily.
But to protect yourself even more (105 million people in North American with diabetes or prediabetes are at increased risk of HBP), here are four foods that'll move you toward, or keep you at, our recommended BP level of 115/75.
Eat two ounces of walnuts daily: After eight weeks you'll relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
Sip beet-root juice: One cup of beet-root juice can drop your systolic BP (the top number) by around five points six hours after sipping the niacin-rich drink.
Grab some raisins: A handful of 60 raisins contains 1 gram of fiber and 212 mg of potassium; both help control blood pressure.
Flax your muscles: Study participants eating 30 g of milled flaxseed daily for six months saw systolic blood pressure fall by around 10 points and diastolic (the lower number) by around 7.
© 2013 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
© King Features Syndicate