Text by Corina Tan
Hypertension also known as high blood pressure is diagnosed when blood flows through the arteries at a rate that is higher than the norm. While this is a fairly common health issue, only one quarter of people who have this condition actually have their high blood pressure under control.
The DASH diet or known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension reveals that lifestyle changes such as what you eat, limiting alcohol, being physically active and quitting cigarettes are major contributors to lowering high blood pressure. Another approach is to add a few hypertension-targeting supplements into your everyday diet.
In the general population of people who have uncomplicated hypertension, some nutritional supplements have been found to have antihypertensive effects. Chris Davis, MD, FACC, is triple-board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology who has also completed training in functional and regenerative medicine. His unique qualifications enable him to recommend four supplements for lowering blood pressure.
Food Supplements To Lower Blood Pressure
“Beet root is naturally rich in inorganic nitrates, which are eventually converted to nitric oxide, which is a potent arterial dilator,” Dr Davis says. A study in 2018 also showed that beet root juice might help to control arterial blood pressure in healthy subjects, in the pre-hypertensive population, and even in patients diagnosed and treated with drugs. Freshly juiced beet root is preferred but capsules are a convenient way to take this supplement which is also good for the liver, digestive health and reduction of inflammation throughout the body.
A randomized controlled trial in Italy showed a significant reduction in mean systolic blood pressure in those who took two aged garlic capsules daily for 12 weeks. Besides having significant antioxidant properties, multiple studies have shown that there is significant statistical improvement in arterial elasticity and blood pressure using aged garlic.
Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract has been studied for its impact on LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides and hypertension. One randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed significant modulated blood pressure with a pronounced effect after 16 weeks of consuming 300 milligrams of grape seed extract tablets daily. “Grape seed extract contains a variety of polyphenol compounds that have been shown to improve blood pressure,” Dr Davis says. Referenced in many studies, polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring compounds that may lower the risk of certain conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, inflammation and cognitive decline.
From stress reduction to diabetes prevention, bone health and lowering blood pressure, magnesium is certainly one of the supplements that has a lot to offer especially lowering blood pressure. “Magnesium helps to relax the arteries via stimulation of nitric oxide production and also influences calcium influx, which helps to control blood pressure as well,” Dr Davis says. While magnesium supplements in tablet form is a convenient way to get your daily dose, you can also get magnesium through foods like spinach, dark chocolate, almonds, pumpkin seeds and black beans. As of January 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration has allowed companies to state that magnesium leads to a reduction in blood pressure.
Besides their hypertensive reduction attributes, Dr Davis also points out that the above recommended supplements have overall health benefits including being potent antioxidants that addresses the ever-increasing issue of environmental toxins that we are exposed to everyday.
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