High blood pressure: Three natural supplements proven to lower reading
High blood pressure can cause the arteries to harden and thicken, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke happening. But recognising if you have high blood pressure can be difficult because symptoms don’t always show. The best way to find out if you have the condition is to have your blood pressure checked by your GP or an at-home blood pressure monitor. Whether you have high blood pressure or are looking to keep your blood pressure reading in check, one of the main recommendations is eating a healthy diet.
Evidence has shown adding certain natural supplements to your diet can help lower blood pressure
The NHS recommends cutting down on the amount of salt in your food and to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
But evidence has also shown adding certain natural supplements to your diet can also help lower blood pressure.
Available as a tasty tea, hibiscus flowers are rich in anthocyanin and polyphenols, which have been proven in studies to benefit heart heath and lower blood pressure.
Fish oil has been recognised for improving heart health, and may benefit people with high blood pressure the most, according to research.
Berberine is a quaternary ammonium salt found in plants, traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Studies have suggested berbine can increase nitric oxide production, which can help decrease blood pressure.
Another supplement which has been proven to help lower blood pressure is spirulina.
A 2016 trial of 40 overweight people who had high blood pressure showed spirulina to be an effective blood pressure-lowering ingredient.
Volunteers who took spirulina for three months saw improvements in their blood pressure, body weight and BMI, while those taking a placebo saw no significant changes.
Holland & Barrett explains what spirulina is: “Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in freshwater ponds and lakes.
“It’s packed with nutrients, including B vitamins, beta-carotene, copper and iron, as well as small amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese.
“You can take spirulina in tablets, capsules or as a powder that can be added to shakes and smoothies for a nutritional boost. It’s also increasingly popular as an ingredient in snack, or energy, balls.”
Other lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure are recommended by Bupa:
- Lose excess weight, especially fat stored round your waist.
- Do more activity, particularly aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping. But get medical advice first – things like weightlifting and weight training can make high blood pressure worse.
- Add more calcium and potassium to your diet, including low-fat dairy products and beans, peas and nuts as well as green vegetables and bananas. But don’t take calcium, potassium or other supplements in an attempt to reduce blood pressure.
- Cut down on alcohol – stick to recommended guidelines (no more than 14 units a week) and try to have at least two alcohol-free days a week. If your high blood pressure is mainly linked to drinking too much alcohol, it may disappear after a couple of weeks of complete abstinence.
- Drink less coffee and other caffeinated drinks like cola.
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