While high blood pressure may seem like par for the course with today’s fast-paced lifestyles, this condition can be quite deadly. An estimated one in five adults worldwide have high blood pressure and, what’s worse, most don’t know they have it since it carries no symptoms. When left untreated, this condition can damage blood vessels, placing you at an increased risk for heart attack or stroke. Fortunately, there are a few good supplements that can help support healthy blood pressure levels.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?Blood pressure has to do with the effects of blood flow on the arteries and the degree of force the heart must use to pump blood through the body. Since the arteries are only so big, a certain amount of resistance develops as the heart pumps blood through them. The harder the heart has to work to move blood through the arteries, the more force it uses. The more force it uses, the greater the pressure on the arteries. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the force needed to move blood through the arteries is too high. Over time, this condition causes damage to artery walls. With artery damage comes an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Here are a few risk factors that contribute to high blood pressure levels:
- Having a family history of high blood pressure
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Excess weight and/or obesity
- Being of African descent
- High cholesterol levels
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- High salt intake
- Stressful lifestyle
Supplements That Help Support Normal Blood Pressure Levels
PotassiumPotassium plays a major role in keeping blood pressure levels in check. This is especially the case for people who consume too much salt in their diet. Excess salt causes the body to retain fluid. When this happens, the heart has to work harder to push blood through the body. Potassium works by reducing the amount of salt the body retains. It does this by helping your kidneys eliminate more salt or sodium through urination. The less salt that’s present in the body, the less fluid you retain, which is how potassium supplements support healthy blood pressure.
MagnesiumMagnesium is one of the body’s all-purpose minerals, offering a range of health benefits, including blood pressure support. This essential mineral helps relax blood vessel walls, which allows blood to move through the arteries more freely. Magnesium supplements act as natural calcium channel blockers. Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from building up inside the cells of the heart and blood vessels. These effects allow blood vessels to widen as the muscles in blood vessel walls relax, which is how magnesium supplements help support optimal blood pressure levels.
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsOmega-3 fatty acid supplements support blood pressure in a different way by helping reduce your LDL blood cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol comes from fatty foods like pork and lard or shortening. High LDL cholesterol levels cause a buildup (also known as plaque) on artery walls. Plaque buildup narrows vessel walls, making the heart exert more force to push blood through. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood-cholesterol levels, which decreases the growth of plaque buildup on artery walls.
GarlicLike magnesium, garlic is a jack-of-all-trades as far as health benefits go. Along with its natural antioxidant properties, a garlic supplement acts as a natural diuretic, reducing fluid levels in the body. Garlic also acts as a natural ACE inhibitor due to its ability to block the formation of an enzyme (angiotensin I-converting enzyme) that contributes to rising blood pressure levels. All of these effects combined result in less work for the heart and less pressure on artery walls.
Vitamin D & Vitamin K2A vitamin D deficiency not only poses serious risks to your bone health but also the health of your arteries. When adequate amounts of vitamin D are lacking, calcium builds up inside the cells of your artery walls, which causes them to become stiff. When this happens, they don’t bend or expand to accommodate blood flow, which causes an increase in blood pressure. A vitamin D supplement helps the body better metabolize calcium so this build-up doesn’t happen. A vitamin K2 supplement also helps the calcium get deposited in the right places, like your bones rather than your arteries and cartilage. You get the best results by taking vitamin D and K2 together.
A Plant-Based Diet - The Best Way to Support Healthy Blood PressureWhile the right supplement can work in supporting blood pressure levels, the type of food you eat from day to day has an ongoing impact on your cardiovascular health. A healthy, plant-based diet can reduce your risk for high blood pressure in a number of ways:
- Fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium
- Plant-based foods contain no cholesterol
- Plant-based foods are low in fat and salt