High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a precursor to heart disease so it’s vital you reverse a high reading. Committing to a healthy lifestyle offers the best defence against high blood pressure and there are some essential items to include in your toolkit. According to research, magnesium supplements boast blood-pressure lowering capabilities.
Magnesium is an essential element in the human body that you can top up through your diet.
Nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, leafy vegetables, milk, yogurt and fortified foods are good sources.
However, supplementing with magnesium provides direct benefits managing blood pressure, a meta-analysis suggests.
Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire have found that magnesium supplements may offer small but clinically significant reductions in blood pressure.
In a paper published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers also discovered that the benefits increased in line with the dosage.
“Until now, there’s been inconclusive evidence regarding the effect of magnesium supplements on blood pressure,” said Lindsy Kass, Senior Lecturer and registered nutritionist at the University of Hertfordshire.
“So we conducted a meta-analysis by analysing data from twenty-two trials involving 1,173 people to assess the effect of magnesium on blood pressure.”
A meta-analysis compares the results of multiple studies to arrive at a more definitive conclusion.
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In the trials, the magnesium supplementation doses ranged from 120 to 973 mg with between three to 24 weeks of follow-up.
Although not all individual trials showed significance in blood pressure reduction, by combining the trials, the overall data indicated that magnesium supplementation reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
The best results were observed at higher dosages.
“The clinical significance in the reductions found from this meta-analysis may be important in helping to prevent hypertension and associated risks around cardiovascular disease,” said Lindsy.
“And is worthy of future trials using solid methodology.”
General dietary tips
To enhance the benefits of taking magnesium, you need to commit to a heart-healthy diet.
Cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to lower high blood pressure.
“Salt raises your blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure,” warns the NHS.
According to the health body, you should aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.
“Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure,” notes the health body.
“Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.”
Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time.
According to the NHS, staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure:
- Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.
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