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Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure in Africa

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High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. It affects one in three people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide.

If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

But there’s good news. There are a number of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally, even without medication.

Here Are 15 Natural Ways To Combat High Blood Pressure.

1. Walk and exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure.

Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.

In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week, can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health .

What’s more, doing even more exercise than this reduces your blood pressure even further, according to the National Walkers’ Health Study (5).

Bottom line: Walking just 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. More exercise helps reduce it even further.

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2. Reduce your sodium intake

Salt intake is high around the world. In large part, this is due to processed and prepared foods.

For this reason, many public health efforts are aimed at lowering salt in the food industry (6).

Many studies have linked high salt intake with high blood pressure and heart events, including stroke .

However, more recent research indicates that the relationship between sodium and high blood pressure is less clear.

One reason for this may be genetic differences in how people process sodium. About half of people with high blood pressure and a quarter of people with normal levels seem to have a sensitivity to salt (11).

If you already have high blood pressure, it’s worth cutting back your sodium intake to see if it makes a difference. Swap out processed foods with fresh ones and try seasoning with herbs and spices rather than salt.

Bottom line: Most guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend reducing sodium intake. However, that recommendation might make the most sense for people who are salt-sensitive.

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3. Drink less alcohol

Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases around the world (12).

While some research has suggested that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by adverse effects (12).

In the U.S., moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. If you drink more than that, cut back.

Bottom line: Drinking alcohol in any quantity may raise your blood pressure. Limit your drinking in line with the recommendations.

4. Eat more potassium-rich foods

Potassium is an important mineral.

It helps your body get rid of sodium and eases pressure on your blood vessels.

Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake (13).

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To get a better balance of potassium to sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and more fresh, whole foods.

Foods that are particularly high in potassium include:

  • vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
  • fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges, and apricots
  • dairy, such as milk and yogurt
  • tuna and salmon
  • nuts and seeds
  • beans

Bottom line: Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure.

h3>5. Cut back on caffeine

If you’ve ever downed a cup of coffee before you’ve had your blood pressure taken, you’ll know that caffeine causes an instant boost.

However, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that drinking caffeine regularly can cause a lasting increase (14).

In fact, people who drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, than those who don’t drink it.

Caffeine may have a stronger effect on people who don’t consume it regularly .

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If you suspect you’re caffeine-sensitive, cut back to see if it lowers your blood pressure.

Bottom line: Caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, although for many people, it does not cause a lasting increase.

6. Learn to manage stress

Listening to soothing music may help lower stress

Stress is a key driver of high blood pressure.

When you’re chronically stressed, your body is in a constant fight-or-flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels.

When you experience stress, you might also be more likely to engage in other behaviors, such as drinking alcohol or eating unhealthful food that can adversely affect blood pressure.

Several studies have explored how reducing stress can help lower blood pressure. Here are two evidence-based tips to try:

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  • Listen to soothing music: Calming music can help relax your nervous system. Research has shown it’s an effective complement to other blood pressure therapies
  • Work less: Working a lot, and stressful work situations, in general, are linked to high blood pressure

Bottom line: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Finding ways to manage stress can help.

7. Eat dark chocolate or cocoa

Here’s a piece of advice you can really get behind.

While eating massive amounts of dark chocolate probably won’t help your heart, small amounts may.

That’s because dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids, which are plant compounds that cause blood vessels to dilate (25).

A review of studies found that flavonoid-rich cocoa improved several markers of heart health over the short term, including lowering blood pressure (25).

For the strongest effects, use non-alkalized cocoa powder, which is especially high in flavonoids and has no added sugars.

Bottom line: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain plant compounds that help relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.

8. Lose weight

In people with overweight, losing weight can make a big difference to heart health.

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According to a 2016 study, losing 5% of your body mass could significantly lower high blood pressure (26).

In previous studies, losing 17.64 pounds (8 kilograms) was linked to lowering systolic blood pressure by 8.5 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 6.5 mm Hg (27).

To put that in perspective, a healthy reading should be less than 120/80 mm Hg (4).

The effect is even greater when weight loss is paired with exercise (27).

Losing weight can help your blood vessels do a better job of expanding and contracting, making it easier for the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood.

Bottom line: Losing weight can significantly lower high blood pressure. This effect is even more significant when you exercise.

9. Quit smoking

Among the many reasons to quit smoking is that the habit is a strong risk factor for heart disease.

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Every puff of cigarette smoke causes a slight, temporary increase in blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco are also known to damage blood vessels.

Surprisingly, studies haven’t found a conclusive link between smoking and high blood pressure. Perhaps this is because smokers develop a tolerance over time (28).

Still, since both smoking and high blood pressure raise the risk of heart disease, quitting smoking can help lessen that risk.

Bottom line: There’s conflicting research about smoking and high blood pressure, but what is clear is that both increase the risk of heart disease.

10. Cut added sugar and refined carbs

There’s a growing body of research showing a link between added sugar and high blood pressure.

In the Framingham Women’s Health Study, women who drank even one soda per day had higher levels than those who drank less than one soda per day (32).

Another study found that having one less sugar-sweetened beverage per day was linked to lower blood pressure (33).

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And it’s not just sugar — all refined carbs, such as the kind found in white flour — convert rapidly to sugar in your bloodstream and may cause problems.

Some studies have shown that low carb diets may also help reduce blood pressure.

One study on people undergoing statin therapy found that those who went on a 6-week, carb-restricted diet saw a greater improvement in blood pressure and other heart disease markers than people who did not restrict carbs (34).

Bottom line: Refined carbs, especially sugar, may raise blood pressure. Some studies have shown that low carb diets may help reduce your levels.

11. Eat berries

Berries are full of more than just juicy flavor.

They’re also packed with polyphenols, natural plant compounds that are good for your heart.

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Polyphenols can reduce the risk of stroke, heart conditions, and diabetes, as well as improving blood pressure, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation (34).

One study assigned people with high blood pressure to a low-polyphenol diet or a high-polyphenol diet containing berries, chocolate, fruits, and vegetables (35).

Those consuming berries and polyphenol-rich foods experienced improved markers of heart disease risk.

Bottom line: Berries are rich in polyphenols, which can help lower blood pressure and the overall risk of heart disease.

12. Try meditation or deep breathing

While these two behaviors could also fall under “stress reduction techniques,” meditation and deep breathing deserve specific mention.

Both meditation and deep breathing may activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is engaged when the body relaxes, slowing the heart rate, and lowering blood pressure.

There’s quite a bit of research in this area, with studies showing that different styles of meditation appear to have benefits for lowering blood pressure.

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Deep breathing techniques can also be quite effective.

In one study, participants were asked to either take six deep breaths over the course of 30 seconds or simply sit still for 30 seconds. Those who took breaths lowered their blood pressure more than those who just sat.

Try guided meditation or deep breathing. Here’s a video to get you started.

Bottom line: Both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure.

13. Eat calcium-rich foods

People with low calcium intake often have high blood pressure.

While calcium supplements haven’t been conclusively shown to lower blood pressure, calcium-rich diets do seem linked to healthful levels .

For most adults, the calcium recommendation is 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day. For women over 50 and men over 70, it’s 1,200 mg per day (41).

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In addition to dairy, you can get calcium from collard greens and other leafy greens, beans, sardines, and tofu. Here is a list of calcium-rich plant-based foods.

Bottom line: Calcium-rich diets are linked to healthy blood pressure levels. You can get calcium through eating dark leafy greens and tofu, as well as dairy.

14. Take natural supplements

Some natural supplements may also help lower blood pressure. Here are some of the main supplements that have evidence behind them:

  • Aged garlic extract: Researchers have used aged garlic extract successfully as a stand-alone treatment and along with conventional therapies for lowering blood pressure .
  • Berberine: Traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, berberine may increase nitric oxide production, which helps decrease blood pressure.
  • Whey protein: A 2016 study found that whey protein improved blood pressure and blood vessel function in 38 participants.
  • Fish oil: Long credited with improving heart health, fish oil may benefit people with high blood pressure the most.
  • Hibiscus: Hibiscus flowers make a tasty tea. They’re rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols that are good for your heart and may lower blood pressure.

Bottom line: Researchers have investigated several natural supplements for their ability to lower blood pressure.

15. Eat foods rich in magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps blood vessels relax.

While magnesium deficiency is pretty rare, many people don’t get enough.

Some studies have suggested that getting too little magnesium is linked with high blood pressure, but evidence from clinical studies has been less clear .

Still, eating a magnesium-rich diet is a recommended way to ward off high blood pressure .

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You can incorporate magnesium into your diet by consuming vegetables, dairy products, legumes, chicken, meat, and whole grains.

Bottom line: Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Find it in whole foods, such as legumes and whole grains.

Take home message

High blood pressure affects a large proportion of the world’s population.

While drugs are one way to treat the condition, there are many other natural techniques, including eating certain foods that can help.

Controlling your blood pressure through the methods in this article may, ultimately, help you lower your risk of heart disease.

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AFRICA

Nigeria’s AfriGo to Rival Visa, Mastercard – Central Bank

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has launched the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme, AfriGo, aimed at creating a more robust payment system that would drive financial inclusion in the country.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, has said that transaction charges on all cards would henceforth be paid in Naira, except for international transactions.

Emefiele said the card, which will function like other international payment cards, is aimed at boosting financial inclusion in the country and reducing dependence on foreign cards. He added that “by this initiative, will therefore be joining countries like China, Russia, Turkey and India which have launched domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits for their respective payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.”

The national domestic card is expected to rival Visa and Mastercard, the market’s biggest players.

The announcement follows last year’s decision to phase out old higher denomination bank notes. The new notes came into circulation effect on December 15, 2022.

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AFRICA

The Gospel of the “Obi-Datti” Movement

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Nigeria 23:57….. and it came to pass in those days as Peter the son of Obi journeyed from Kaduna unto Kano, a great multitude followed him as he spake unto them saying; behold, I will do a new thing in Northern Nigeria, if thou and thy children shall vote for me, we will prosper thy land and thy seed shall eat the fruits thereof, for what profiteth the North that thou hast great land and thy offspring suffereth hunger and starvation.

 

As he spake these things, the Kadunites and the Kanites marvelled and they spake one to another, what manner of man is this that bringeth hope unto us. The people spread the good news of Peter and his brother Datti and whole city rejoiced at the marvelous things he spake unto them. Many were baptized unto OBIDIENCE and the number of those baptized were Nine hundredth and forty thousand men, with women and children not counted.

 

….. An excerpt from one of the “obedients” that got our attention inhouse. With the elections at hand in Nigeria, it would be advisable for all to get their PVC’s and go vote for their candidate.

 

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AFRICA

Tanzanian opposition leader returns home after years in exile

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Tanzanian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Tundu Lissu returned home from years of exile in Belgium to a cheering crowd on Wednesday, after the government lifted a ban on political rallies.

A former lawmaker and a fierce critic of the government, Lissu initially left the country to seek treatment abroad after he was shot 16 times, mostly in his lower abdomen, in an attack by unknown gunmen in the administrative capital Dodoma in 2017.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan lifted a ban on political rallies this month, more than six years after her predecessor John Magufuli imposed the measure which caused frequent run-ins between opposition leaders and police.

The move was welcomed by the opposition and it prompted Lissu to announce he would end his exile.

He was welcomed by a large gathering of his supporters at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, before making his way by car to a rally in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Exile had been tough, he told the crowd which was waving his CHADEMA party flags, adding he would push for the enactment of a new constitution.

“Without a new constitution it will be difficult to change anything. Without it we won’t have a free and independent electoral commission,” he said.

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The current constitution vested too much power in the executive, he said, adding it was imperative to push for reforms.

“If you are tired of all these high taxes, high inflation of food… let us find a political solution, let us find a new constitution,” Lissu said.

Lissu, who had been arrested eight times in the year leading up to the gun attack he survived, returned to his homeland in 2020 to challenge Magufuli in an election.

However, shortly after the election he fled to the residence of the German ambassador after receiving death threats, and then left the country again.

Under the ban on rallies, which came into force in 2016, elected politicians were allowed to conduct rallies in their constituencies but other political rallies or protests were prohibited.

Magufuli died in March 2021 due to a heart disease that had plagued him for a decade. Upon ascending to the presidency, Hassan undertook some reforms, including lifting a ban on newspapers deemed critical and opening talks with opposition leaders.

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Nigeria: Federal Govt Sets Up 14-Man Committee to Manage Petroleum Products Supply, Distribution

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In a move to find lasting solution to the disruptions in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the constitution of a 14-man Steering Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution management, which he will personally chair, the ministry of petroleum resources announced yesterday.

The Steering Committee, which has minister of state for Petroleum Resource, Chief Timipre Sylva as alternate chairman is expected to among other things to ensure transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

Other terms of reference are to ensure national strategic stock management, visibility on the NNPC Limited refineries rehabilitation programme and ensure end-end tracking of petroleum products, especial PMS to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.

To further ensure sanity in the supply and distribution across the value chain, Sylva has directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to ensure strict compliance with the government approved ex-depot and retail prices for PMS.

The minister has further directed the NMDPRA to ensure that NNPC Limited, which is the supplier of last resort meets the domestic supply obligation of PMS and other petroleum products in the country.

He further directed that the interests of the ordinary Nigerian is protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as AGO and DPK and LPG.

The federal government will not allow misguided elements to bring untold hardship upon the citizenry and attempt to discredit government’s efforts in consolidating the gains made thus far in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

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Other members of the committee are minister of Finance, permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Economic Adviser to the President, director-general, Department of State Services (DSS), comptroller-general, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Member (EFCC), and commandant-general, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

Others who made up the Steering Committee are Authority chief executive, Nigerian Midstream and Member Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), group chief executive officer, NNPC Limited, Special Advisor (Special Duties) to the HMSPR while the Technical Advisor (Midstream) to the HMSPR will serve as Secretary.

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