Would you want to fly on a plane that’s gauges were in the red zone? No way! Not unless you wanted the plane to break apart in mid-air. Well, it’s strange then that we don’t react the same way when our blood pressure gauge is in the red zone. According to Dr. Prediman Shah, the director of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A., high blood pressure gives you a fourfold increase in the chance of heart attack or stroke. But only one third of people with high blood pressure have it under control. Your target should be 119 over 79 or lower. So here’s how to get it there, beyond using any medication your doctor may prescribe. We found this in Men’s Health magazine:

  • Replace 10% of the breads, pasta, cereal and potatoes you eat with lean red meat. In a recent Australian study, people who did that experienced a 4 point drop in blood pressure in just 2 months. Why does lean red meat help? Because an amino acid in red meat helps dilate blood vessels. And limiting starches makes your body more efficient at burning fat.
  • Squeeze a rubber ball. It seems to help – a lot actually. According to a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, people performing hand grip exercises for 2 months lowered their blood pressure by 15 points! And all it takes is 2 minutes of squeezing, 4 times a day.
  • Clean the house. Research in the journal Medicine & Science had people do enough housework to burn 150 calories a day. After only 2 days, their blood pressure levels fell an average of 13 points! Why does cleaning the house work? It’s not just the added exercise – seeing a clean space reduces psychological stress.
  • Get a massage. A study by the University of Florida revealed that people who received 3 ten minute massages a week experienced an 18 point drop.

So let’s quickly review: To lower your blood pressure – eat a little more lean red meat, squeeze a rubber ball a few times a day, clean the house, and get a massage. It’s too easy not to do!