Naturally Lower Blood Pressure
Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
Lower blood pressure can be achieved, in some cases, by making simple dietary and lifestyle changes. In other cases, medication is required but must be complemented by appropriate diet and lifestyle practices.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is an epidemic, affecting millions of people worldwide. It is referred to a silent killer because it exhibits little to no symptoms but can be extremely deadly.
High blood pressure is the leading cause of kidney disease. It is also responsible for many cases of heart disease, strokes and other medical complications.
In order to minimize the harmful effects of hypertension, it is important that prompt, effective action be taken to reduce blood pressure.
It is highly recommended that persons with high blood pressure consult their health care provider to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. Sometimes, prescriptive drugs are required, in addition to dietary and lifestyle adjustments. However, there are some minerals, vitamins and nutraceuticals that have been known to lower blood pressure.
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Minerals That Lower Blood Pressure
Minerals play a vital part in many metabolic processes. Some have antioxidant effects while others are necessary for the function of vitamins, hormones, and enzymes.
The importance of minerals has been increasingly recognized in recent years although their role is less known than that of vitamins.
Minerals required by the human body include potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, and sodium.
The following minerals have been known to help decrease blood pressure.
Potassium is the third most abundant element in the body with most of it residing inside the body's cells. It has several duties in the body, including helping the muscles and nervous system work properly. It also works with sodium and chloride to distribute fluids properly throughout the body.
Potassium is found in a number of foods including green leafy vegetables, nuts, papayas, dates, bananas, cantaloupes, guavas, and oranges. Hypertensive patients who are not consuming enough of these foods should consider taking a potassium supplement.
For persons who suffer with hypertension, supplementing with 2,400 to 4,800 mg of potassium per day can help to lower blood pressure. The amount of potassium supplement required will depend on the amount obtained from foods.
Calcium is present in significant amounts in the human body and is almost entirely concentrated in the bones and teeth. Calcium is vital for the growth and maintenance of muscle contraction, and the function of certain enzyme systems. Additionally, calcium helps to keep the heart beating regularly.
Foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, canned salmon or sardines with bones, almonds, cantaloupes, and broccoli. Now, please choose your food wisely... be careful of the salt content in canned foods (read the labels) and if you have kidney problems, use dairy products in moderation.
Those who are not able to get enough calcium from their foods should consider using a good calcium supplement. A calcium intake of 1,000mg to 1,500mg per day should be adequate.
The body uses magnesium to manufacture protein and to also convert protein, fat, and carbohydrates into energy. It also helps to detoxify the body and keep the blood from clotting unnecessarily. Magnesium also helps to regulate the amount of sodium, calcium, and potassium found within the cells.
Many studies show that when more magnesium is consumed in the form of food, it helps to lower blood pressure. Magnesium can be found in a number of foods, including peas, beans, whole grain breads, avocados, dry-roasted almonds, lima beans, dark green vegetables, nuts, and seafood.
Magnesium supplements can also be beneficial. Studies show that a magnesium supplement of 500mg per day can significantly lower blood pressure.
Magnesium is likely to be more valuable, however, when consumed with calcium and potassium, rather than as a stand-alone supplement.
Vitamins That Lower Blood Pressure
Vitamins are a group of organic substances that are required in our diet to maintain good health.
They are involved in a large number of metabolic processes, including the growth and repair of tissues and organs, utilization of food and the functioning of the immune, nervous, circulatory and hormonal systems.
The following are some vitamins that have been known to help reduce blood pressure.
Vitamin D is sometimes called the "sunshine vitamin" because it can be manufactured in the skin when the body is exposed to sunlight. It is necessary for healthy bones, muscles, and cells. It also helps the body to absorb and use phosphorus and calcium.
Some studies show that when the amount of vitamin D in the body is too low, the blood pressure rises... and so does the LDL ("bad") cholesterol. It affects the body's ability to clear fat from the blood, following a fatty meal.
Caution: The body tends to hang on to vitamin D since it is stored in fat tissue, so don't take more than the recommended amount without consulting your physician. People with normal exposure to the sun manufacture enough storable vitamin D, in addition to that obtained from foods. In high doses, vitamin D can have toxic effects.
If you believe you have a vitamin D deficiency but you are not sure if to take a supplement, consult your doctor. In any event, you should not consume more than 400 IU per day (including that received from sunlight and food).
Good dietary sources of vitamin D include oily fish, eggs, fortified milk, cod liver oil, and breakfast cereals.
Vitamin C plays a vital role in the maintenance of cell walls and connective tissue. It is, therefore, essential for the health of blood vessels, skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and all the body's lining surfaces. It promotes the uptake and absorption of iron and is crucially involved in effective operation of the immune system. It also helps to fight off certain types of cancer.
The ability of vitamin C to lower blood pressure is further enhanced when it is combined with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, or selenium.
The best sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables, including papayas, guavas, red peppers, cantaloupes, black currants, green peppers, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus.
A vitamin C supplement of 250 to 500 mg twice a day should be adequate for most people.
Studies have shown that low levels of B6 in the blood are linked to hypertension. Taking vitamin B6 supplements can help to lower blood pressure by almost 10% in some cases. That's because vitamin B6 has multiple anti-hypertensive effects that are similar to diuretics.
Vitamin B6 helps the body extract energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is also necessary for the production of hemoglobin, neurotransmitters, and hormones. It helps to convert amino acids into carbohydrates and may also help relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and certain mood disorders.
Vitamin B6 can be found in avocados, beef liver, bananas, chicken, smoked salmon, red snapper, wheat germ, corn, and yogurt. A daily intake of 100 to 200 mg should be adequate.
Vitamin E helps to protect the vascular system and other organs that are typically harmed by elevated blood pressure. It is also a powerful antioxidant.
Vitamin E is found in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, wheat germ, nuts, liver, butter, and egg yolk. A daily supplement of 400 to 800 IU should be adequate for the needs of the body.
Nutraceuticals That Lower Blood Pressure
Nutraceuticals are components of foods or dietary supplements that have medicinal or therapeutic uses. The following are some of the common nutraceuticals that help to reduce high blood pressure.
Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are probably the best kind of fat that can help to reduce blood pressure and improve overall health. The best source of omega-3 is fish (or fish oil) but other non-fish sources include green soybeans, butternuts, green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnuts, and Brazil nuts.
Other benefits of omega 3s include:
reduce the tendency of platelets to stick together;
reduce fibrinogen (a blood-clotting protein)
reduce irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia);
reduce blood fat and
reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and heart attack.
The protective effect of omega-3s has been documented in many studies. A daily intake of 3 to 4 grams of omega-3 should
Celery contains a substance called apigenin, which among other things, helps to lower blood pressure. It also acts like a diuretic, helping to rid the body of excess fluid, thereby, helping to reduce high blood pressure.
A daily consumption of 3 to 4 celery stalks per day can be beneficial (juicing is recommended). Alternatively, 8 teaspoons of celery juice 3 times a day, 1,000 mg of celery seed extract twice a day, or 1 teaspoon of celery oil 3 times a day can also be beneficial to health.
Garlic has been used as a health aid for a very long time. More recently, garlic has gained recognition for its ability to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. It contains several substances that allow it to help the body keep the arteries dilated, thus reducing vascular resistance and blood pressure.
A daily intake of 4 cloves or 4 grams of garlic is recommended. Alternatively, a good garlic supplement can be just as beneficial.
Fiber is known for its ability to lower cholesterol and improve bowel function, but it can also help to lower blood pressure. Fiber fights hypertension by improving vascular function, helps the body to excrete sodium, improve insulin sensitivity, and decreases the sympathetic nervous system activity that can increase blood pressure.
A daily intake of 60 grams of oatmeal, or 40 grams of oat bran can provide sufficient fiber for the body.
The above list of minerals, vitamins and nutraceuticals is not exhaustive, but they all possess properties that have been known to help lower high blood pressure.
Hypertensive patients should consult their health care provider to help determine their best course of treatment. It is also important to monitor blood pressure regularly.
There is no single best way to combat hypertension... it must be attacked on several fronts at once. Even patients who use prescription medicines should ensure that their diet contains the appropriate mix of nutrients that can help to naturally reduce high blood pressure. Regular exercise, adequate rest and reduced stress levels are also important elements that help to lower blood pressure naturally.