Controlling blood pressure with food
The typical western diet often fails to deliver three key minerals for blood pressure control: calcium, magnesium, and potassium, Calcium helps blood vessels tighten and relax when they need to. Magnesium does that, too, and is also needed for energy production and moving calcium and potassium around the body. Potassium lowers blood pressure and protects against muscle cramping and an irregular heartbeat.
How much of these nutrients do adults need? Here are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for all three:
Calcium: 1,000 milligrams (mg) for women ages 31 to 50, and 1,2000 mg after that; 1,000 mg a day for men ages 31 to 70 and 1,200 mg after that;
Magnesium: 320 mg a day for women ages 31 and older; 420 mg for men ages 31 and older
Potassium: 4,700 mg a day for everyone age 14 and older
These minerals are found in many common foods. Good sources of calcium include milk and dairy foods, fish with bones (such as canned salmon and sardines), and dark, leafy greens. Magnesium is plentiful in dark, leafy green vegetables, unrefined grains, and legumes. Good sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, prunes, apricots, and lima beans.
"People eating a healthy diet probably have nothing to worry about. But people eating a diet of processed and canned foods might need to be concerned" that they aren't getting enough of these key minerals, says Dr. Randall Zusman, director of
the Division of Hypertension at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Centre.
Sourced and written by Harvard Medical
The standard blood pressure from a medical point of view is 120/80. Although low blood pressure is sometimes a problem it is high pressure, or hypertension, that is the more common problem. Anything over 140/100 is considered high and many factors such as stress, smoking, weight problems, excess coffee and alcohol and high cholesterol are all considered to affect blood pressure.
Herbs & Cardiac care
Any programme to reduce blood pressure will always look at lifestyle and diet factors. However, a number of herbs can help with general cardiac health as well as specifically hypertension, and is one of the most common reasons people seek the help of the herbalist.
Hawthorn is the supreme cardiac herb, that can be taken safely long term. The individual case will determine the exact combination of herbs prescribed and could include Mistletoe, Dandelion, Motherwort, Lime flower and Yarrow.
Any present medication will be taken into account and this can be maintained alongside the herbs, or reduced under careful supervision depending on the patient's wishes.