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.