High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a potentially deadly condition brought on by the narrowing of blood vessel walls. It has many causes, including obesity, stress, diabetes, and an overabundance of sodium in the diet. High blood pressure has been linked to heart disease and kidney problems. While treatment consists of certain medications like ACE inhibitors and beta blockers, plus changes in lifestyle, a good multivitamin can help reduce high blood pressure.
One indication of hypertension is an unbalanced sodium to potassium ratio. Besides decreasing sodium intake, it is a good idea to increase potassium. Available in supplemental form, it can also be found in bananas, broccoli, avocados, Brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, dates, prunes, raisins, almonds, and peanuts.
A calcium deficiency can also bring on high blood pressure. Increase calcium intake to 800 mg per day through supplements, or a diet full of milk, cheese, yogurt, and fortified foods like soymilk and cereal.
Magnesium serves an important purpose in the circulatory system---it makes blood vessels more elastic, stretching to accommodate blood flow and, as a result, lowering blood pressure. Black beans, spinach, tofu, scallops, halibut, oysters, and pumpkin seeds all contain significant amounts of magnesium.
Vitamins B6, B12, and B9, better known as folic acid, protect blood-vessel walls against arteriosclerosis. Much like magnesium, they contribute to flexible arteries. Fortified cereals and whole grain breads contain large doses of B vitamins, especially folic acid, but they can also be found in beef, pork, chick peas, seafood, and tomato juice.
Vitamins C and E
Vitamin C calms the nervous system, therby reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. It also strengthens blood vessels. Taking 95 mg a day of vitamin C should be enough. Look for vitamin C in citrus fruits, strawberries, juice, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and kale. Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants and seem to work together to reduce the risk of heart attack. Vitamin E is found in abundance in wheat germ, sunflower seeds, kiwi, mangos, raspberries, chard, turnip greens, and chicken liver.
Certain herbs lower high blood pressure. Consider cooking curry with turmeric, which contains curmurin, an anti-inflammatory that reduces cholesterol and prevents blood clots. Ginger root improves circulation, and garlic, either raw or in pill form, prevents blood from forming platelets, which narrow artery walls.
- Photo Credit zeusandhera: flickr, FotoosVanRobin: flickr
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