Nutrients for High Blood Pressure

Suppose Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, decided retirement was not for him. He could become a cardiologist. “High blood pressure,” Dr. Greenspan would explain, “is similar to inflation. Medications can be used to control hypertension the way I bumped interest rates to control inflation. Neither medications nor interest rate hikes are cures. Unfortunately, cures for hypertension such as diet and exercise can prove as difficult as decreasing foreign debt and consumer spending.”

The 19th century Italian economist Wilfredo Pareto also contributed to the management of hypertension. His motto was to find the 20% that can help you achieve 80% of the results. Small changes in diet and supplemental doses of a few key nutrients can be considered the 20% effort that can provide 80% of the cure, sometimes eliminating the need for medications.

Many people with hypertension are low in the following key nutrients. When optimal levels are restored the 20:80 rule takes effect.

Marine sources of omega-3 fats, also known as EPA and DHA, are often low because junky fats crowd them out of the diet and interfere with the body’ ability to make them. Supplemental doses protect blood vessels by reducing inflammation and strengthening cell membranes.

Magnesium is often filtered from water and refined from food. Supplemental calcium taken for bone health can crowd out needed magnesium if magnesium is not included in the supplement. Restoring magnesium helps relax Magnesium helps relax tense muscles – magnesium in Epsom salts helps make a relaxing tub, magnesium in milk of magnesium and magnesium citrate relax the bowels, and supplemental magnesium can treat some muscle spasms and restless leg syndrome. The best dietary sources are fresh fruits and vegetables and supplemental magnesium up to 500mg a day.

Zinc is a mineral antioxidant and stress is its rally cry to protect the blood vessels. Those of us under chronic stress can be chronically zinc deficient and should take the “zinc challenge.” Zinc has a metallic taste when body zinc stores are insufficient and a neutral taste when the body has enough zinc. When zinc stores are adequate sweet foods taste sweeter, making healthier food choices easier.

Fiber helps improve cholesterol and the antioxidants found in foods rich in fiber lower blood pressure. Anyone with an unfavorable cholesterol profile and high blood pressure gets a double bonus by eating fresh vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds. The gut muscles generally have to work up to recommended fiber intake over a few weeks. A supplemental fiber source started slowly can be helpful.

Dr. Greenspan and Wilfredo Pareto would agree. Take stock in good health.

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Posted on: May 6, 2009, by : Heather