Blood pressure is something you’ve probably heard of and had yours measured. That strap gets popped around your bicep and it’s squeezes you until it’s snug, then it’s all over. Numbers that read like a long division math problem tell if you get a thumbs up or down. Easy. Though nobody likes being the dude in math problems, he’s always in trouble. What it really means is the pressure of the blood on the walls of your arteries as your heart throws blood around your system. When it’s too high, you’re at risk of a stroke or heart attack. Not exactly fun times.
That said, it’s does respond to stress and time of day. So, a bad reading in the morning after a fight with your other half about not putting away your washing, may not be the same as the reading you get in the evening. Luckily there are things you can do at home to manage this affliction. There are the usual things like managing stress, lowering salt, and eating fewer unhealthy fats. Exercise is a natural factor for lowering, but that’s nothing new. Fortunately, there are two new elements on the radar that could help you get your pressure in check.
Breath work is the new buzz word. It’s not when your colleague has eaten garlic shrimp the night before. It involves controlled inhales and exhales of your breath, often against resistance. A new paper in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that doing just 5 minutes of deliberate breath work can lower blood pressure as much as regular exercise. They used a device that made is hard to breath in and exhale so your lungs had to work harder but breath work is something you can do by yourself at home.
There are many protocols to follow that are super popular and available online for free. All you need to do is make sure you find one that fits your needs. What it does is strengthen your lungs while also removing feelings of stress. This study found that this form of training was as good as exercise at reducing blood pressure. Not a bad effort from doing what you’d normally do: breath.
While lowering bad fats is crucial, the protein you eat may also help your blood pressure stay in check. Making the switch to whey protein could be the ticket for your ticker. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking two shakes of whey protein each day lowered blood pressure when they took it for two months. They took 56g per day of whey each day which led to a 3-point reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 2-point drop in diastolic blood pressure. Not only does it build muscle and help you recover but your heart seems to enjoy it too. Make sure you go for a variety that isn’t loaded with unnecessary sugars, because the added sweetness may offset these benefits for your cardiovascular system. Double team your body with a good dose of breath work training and whey each day and you’ll be around longer and have a stronger internal engine to enjoy the world with.