Blood Pressure BasicsBlood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your artery walls. It is at its highest during a heartbeat. This is called systolic pressure. In between beats, when the heart is at rest, pressure falls. This is your diastolic pressure. These two numbers make up your blood pressure reading, expressed as systolic over diastolic (for example, 120/80 mmHg). Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. If it stays high for too long, though, the constant force on your arteries can create microscopic tears. These tears can turn into scar tissue, providing the perfect lodging place for fat, cholesterol, and other particles—collectively called plaque. Buildup of plaque narrows the arteries, which requires your heart to work extra hard to push blood through. This can ultimately result in heart disease, stroke, hardened arteries (atherosclerosis), and various other problems. While there are some factors you can’t control, such as genetics and age, by and large hypertension is a lifestyle disease. Countless hypertensive patients of mine have been able to successfully wean themselves off of their medications and successfully use lifestyle changes and supplements to lower blood pressure naturally.
Lifestyle Changes and Supplements to Lower Blood PressureFirst and foremost, if you have high blood pressure, you must make important lifestyle changes. This includes improving your diet, drinking plenty of water every day, exercising regularly, getting good sleep every night, getting a handle on stress, and putting an end to bad habits like smoking and excessive drinking. If you’re overweight (another big risk factor), practicing these should quickly put you on a path toward better health. Often, these lifestyle changes alone are enough to regulate blood pressure. But for those who need extra support, there are five nutrient all-stars I recommend. You can find all of these individually, or they often come in combination supplements to lower blood pressure. Magnesium plays a vital role in regulating systolic and diastolic blood pressures, as well as sodium, potassium, and calcium levels within your cells. It also relaxes the smooth muscles in the arteries so blood can flow more easily. One review paper stated that taking between 500-1,000 mg of magnesium daily can reduce blood pressure as much as 5.6/2.8 mmHg.1 Nattokinase (derived from fermented soy beans) improves blood pressure by preventing the hardening of blood vessels and aiding in the breakdown of a clotting agent called fibrin. This inhibits abnormal thickening of blood. Some research has shown that it can lower blood pressure and clotting factors dramatically in as little as eight weeks.
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