BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D.
Want three easy things you can do today to dramatically change your health? Eat, eat and eat.
By adding the right grains to your meals, you can lower your blood pressure and make your body younger. And while your hair stylist might not say "Wow! Nice blood pressure!" the next time you walk in, bringing your pressure down may be the most important change you can make. If blood pressure is high (greater than 115/76), the force of the blood on the walls of your arteries is literally gouging holes in them. That causes nicks that then attract lousy LDL cholesterol as plaster ... which, in turn, causes a whole mountain of trouble for your heart, brain, sex life and skin over time.
So, what are the right grains? One study found that whole wheat, barley and brown rice lowered blood pressure in middle-aged people who had prehypertension and mildly high LDL cholesterol (a combo that's doubly dangerous for your blood vessels and heart). How? Chalk up another one for fiber. Both the soluble and insoluble fiber in these grains reduce blood pressure. Even better, the soluble fiber takes a bite out of LDL cholesterol, too.
It's easy to fit these into a day's meals: Have 100 percent whole-wheat toast for breakfast, put some barley on your salad with some black beans or include it in soups, and use wonderfully toothsome brown rice wherever you'd use white. Of course, grains aren't the only foods that help take the pressure off: Fruits and vegetables do your arteries (not to mention your mind, waist and RealAge) huge favors, too.
The YOU Docs — Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz — are authors of "YOU: Being Beautiful — The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty." To submit questions and find ways to grow younger and healthier, go to www.RealAge.com, the docs' online home.