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Phillip Schofield gets blood pressure checked in Istanbul in 1991

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High blood pressure – as the name suggests – relates to the force of blood coursing through your arteries. Although your blood pressure naturally goes up and down throughout the day, consistently high blood pressure places strain on the heart. This can be a precursor for a heart attack or stroke if not properly managed. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to help lower your reading.

A study in Italy shows that people who had both pre-diabetes and high blood pressure managed to lower their reading by eating 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate each day for 15 days.

Dark chocolate’s nitric oxide and antioxidant content is the cause for this healthy impact.

Participants managed to successfully lower their blood pressure by 4.5 points and their diastolic reading by 4.2.

A sustained improvement of that extent could lower your risk of heart attack by 20 percent over five years.

READ MORE: Pancreatic cancer: The ‘difficult’ warning sign immediately after having a poo 

In another study published in the National Library of Health, dark chocolate’s effect on blood pressure was analysed.

“Dark chocolate and flavanol-rich cocoa products have attracted interest as an alternative treatment option for hypertension, a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” began the study.

“Previous meta-analyses concluded that cocoa-rich foods may reduce blood pressure.”

The study concluded that “dark chocolate and flavanol-rich cocoa products have attracted interest as an alternative treatment option for hypertension, aciclo ahimsa aciclovir para que es a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

“Previous meta-analyses concluded that cocoa-rich foods may reduce blood pressure.”

Learn to relax

Bodies react to stress by releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

These hormones can raise your heart rate and constrict blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to spike.

However, by learning to calm your mind more with breathing exercises and practices such as meditation, yoga or tai chi you can not only reduce stress levels but also lower blood pressure reading.

Cardiologist, doctor Brandie Williams said: “Start with five minutes of calming breathing or mindfulness in the morning and five minutes at night, then build up from there.”

One study analysed data from 49 trials with a total of 3,517 participants who were typically middle-aged, overweight women and men who already had high blood pressure or were close to developing the condition and investigated how yoga helped impact their reading.

Overall, the people in the yoga groups experienced average reductions in systolic blood pressure of 5mmHG more than those in the control groups, and diastolic blood pressure was reduced by 3.9mmHG more with yoga.

When people with high blood pressure did yoga three times a week in sessions that also included breathing and relaxation exercises, they experienced average decreases of 11mmHG more than control groups in systolic blood pressure and 6mmHG more in diastolic blood pressure.

Diastolic vs. systolic blood pressure

Blood pressure readings are given in two numbers.

The top number is the maximum pressure your heart exerts while beating (systolic pressure).

The bottom number is the amount of pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure).
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