1. Two easy tricks that can lower your BP

    When it comes to blood pressure, it seems like the mainstream has just two answers: a low-salt diet and meds.

    And both of them are bad ideas.

    Ask anyone who's tried a low-salt diet, and they'll tell you it didn't cure their hypertension…and next thing they knew, the doc was writing a prescription.

    But you don't have to fail on one to get the other.

    You can bring your blood pressure under control with simple lifestyle changes, and new studies show two of the easiest ways to shave a few points off your levels right now: Drink more tea and get more magnesium.

    A new analysis of 22 trials finds that people who take magnesium supplements can cut an average of 4 points off their systolic ("top number") blood pressure and 3 points off their diastolic blood pressure.

    The study didn't look at dietary intake, but I can tell you right now that most people simply don't get enough from diet alone. In fact, magnesium has quietly become one of our most common nutritional deficiencies.

    You'll find it in leafy greens like spinach and chard as well as some nuts -- but few foods pack enough to cover a whole day's needs. In fact, to get what you really need, you'd have to have magnesium-rich food with every meal of the day.

    And that's why most people are missing out.

    Magnesium supplements are cheap, effective and widely available -- so grab some today.

    And while you're out shopping, pick up a box of tea.

    I like Earl Grey myself -- but it doesn't matter which one you prefer, because a new placebo-controlled study of 95 men and women finds that any black tea can also trim a few points off your BP levels.

    Those who drank three cups a day for six months saw drops of between two and three points when compared to those who were given a placebo drink.

    But you don't have to stick to black, because other studies have found similar numbers for green tea.

    Just don't count on bottled teas to deliver those benefits. You'd actually have to drink 20 bottles of store-bought tea to get the healthy polyphenols you'll find naturally in a single fresh-brewed cup.

    That's a lot of tea.

  2. Simple solution for post-menopausal sleep disorders

    If you tell your doctor you're having trouble sleeping, the first thing he'll do is reach for his prescription pad -- especially if you're a woman going through menopause.

    Feel free to visit the drugstore -- but don't head for the pharmacy, and don't fill that prescription.

    Make a beeline for the supplements aisle instead, and reach for an inexpensive remedy that's been used for centuries by men and women alike to help ease anxiety and get better rest.

    It's valerian root -- and a new clinical trial finds that it can help beat the sleep problems that often accompany menopause.

    Iranian researchers randomly assigned 100 women to either 530 milligrams of valerian root twice a day, or a placebo, for a month and found that 30 percent of the women who got the supplement had better sleep.

    Thirty percent may not sound impressive -- but it's a dramatic improvement compared to the 4 percent of women on the placebo who reported relief.

    What's more, the women who took the supplement reported no side effects -- unlike the sleep meds that can not only leave you groggy in the morning, but can also cause addiction as well as bizarre and often dangerous behavior.

    If valerian doesn't work for you, there's still no reason to fill that prescription: Other studies have found that yoga, tai chi, acupressure, and cognitive behavioral therapy can all help men and women alike overcome sleep problems.

    In some cases, you may need to experiment a little until you find a natural treatment that works best for you. In others, you may need to combine two or more.

    For more tips on how to get better sleep – whether you're a man or woman of any age – explore the Web site of the Health Sciences Institute. Enter "sleep" into the "find a cure" box and then find a comfortable spot to finally get the rest you need.

  3. A study only Big Pharma could love

    A new survey out of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute concluded that patients suffering from high blood pressure get better results from drugs alone than from drugs and lifestyle changes combined.

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