High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition where the force of blood against the artery walls is too high. This becomes a major risk for heart disease and stroke.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and there are two numbers used. The top number is systolic blood pressure and represents the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats. The bottom number is diastolic blood pressure and represents the pressure in the blood vessels between beats, when your heart is resting. Blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal and 130/80 mm Hg or more is considered high.
Here is list a list of vitamin supplements and lifestyle changes you can make to help you lower blood pressure.
Supplements that can lower blood pressure:
Garlic may improve blood circulation, supporting the heart and circulatory system to normalize blood pressure. Studies have shown garlic to significantly lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure (1).
CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10)
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that supports the cardiovascular system and provides cellular energy. Research shows that CoQ10 can decrease diastolic and systolic blood pressure (2). Ubiquinol is a more active form of CoQ10 and is more absorbable than standard CoQ10, which can be more effective in replenishing CoQ10 status in older adults.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are beneficial for heart health. Research shows that taking fish oil can effectively lower blood pressure, especially for those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels (3).
Folic Acid, also known as Folate, is found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and beans, as well as fortified foods such as breads and cereals. Studies suggest that Folic Acid may help to lower blood pressure in both men and women (4). It’s many health benefits are why Folic Acid is commonly found in multivitamins and prenatal supplements.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to heart disease and hypertension. In studies, the effects of vitamin D on blood pressure seem to be minor, therefore more research is still needed (5). You can absorb some vitamin D from the sun, but supplementation is recommended if you don’t spend much time outside.
Magnesium is important in regulating cell function and the relaxation capability of vascular smooth muscle. Research had shown magnesium to help to normalize high blood pressure in unmedicated hypertensive patients (6).
Habits to lower blood pressure:
- Increase Potassium – Eating foods that are high in potassium helps to balance the amount of sodium in the body and decrease blood pressure. Some foods that are high in potassium are leafy greens, banana, avocado, sweet potato, beans, nuts and seeds.
- Decrease Sodium – Higher salt intake has been linked to high blood pressure in some people. If you have hypertension, it may be worth cutting back on sodium by using more herbs and spices than salt for cooking. Check labels of packaged and processed foods for sodium amounts. It is recommended to limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day, which is about 1 teaspoon.
- The DASH Diet – DASH, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed as a flexible, balanced, and heart-healthy eating plan. It includes eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and heart-healthy fats, while limiting sweets and refined carbohydrates. Research has shown the DASH diet to be very effective in reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol (7).
Exercise is one of the best ways to lower high blood pressure. Doing regular physical activity makes the heart stronger. A stronger heart can then pump more blood with less effort, which lowers the pressure in the arteries. One study showed that regular aerobic activity lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure in sedentary adults (8). Walking even just 20-30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in heart health. Increase your steps by parking farther away or taking the stairs.
Stress causes the heart to pump faster and blood vessels to constrict. Finding ways to reduce stress is important for health and blood pressure. Find ways to manage stress, like getting more sleep, time management, breathing techniques, meditation, and exercise.
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