Nearly 31 percent of adults in the world suffer from hypertension. Hypertension or high blood pressure is the number one preventable cause of premature death. Most people are familiar with the common risk factors that lead to high blood pressure, such as stress, excess salt, being overweight, and excess alcohol to name some. But, most people are not aware that a lack of calcium and other key minerals is also a risk factor for high blood pressure.
Keep reading to learn more about the vital minerals you must incorporate into your healthy diet to control your blood pressure.
Start with Potassium
Normal potassium levels are essential for muscle function, which is critical for relaxing the walls of the blood vessels and help with normal blood pressure levels. Potassium helps lower blood pressure. Foods such as apricots, lima beans, and sweet potatoes are rich in potassium.
Increasing potassium intake is often recommended in healthy adults with blood pressure above 120/80. However, those with kidney disease or any condition that affects how the body handles potassium should seek medical guidance before incorporating a potassium supplement into their diet. Always check you’re getting the right amount of potassium, as too much or too little potassium can lead to irregular heart rhythms that can be dangerous.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of potassium is 4.7 grams per day, for men and women ages 52 and older.
We need magnesium for so many things, including helping our blood vessels relax, improve our energy levels, and even help in bone development. Similar to potassium, magnesium is lost through our urine due to diuretic use. Unfortunately, most healthy adults don’t get enough magnesium through their diets alone.
Beyond regulating blood pressure, magnesium also helps control blood sugar, and muscle and nerve function. Foods such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, and unrefined grains are rich in potassium, which is why it’s essential to incorporate them into our diets. Keep in mind that too much magnesium may cause diarrhea.
The RDA of magnesium is 450 milligrams (mg) per day for men ages 50 and older, and 320 mg/day for women ages 50 and older.
Complete with Calcium
Last, but not least, there’s a strong link between healthy calcium levels and controlled blood pressure. Besides being the cornerstone of bone health, calcium has many extended benefits, and lowering blood pressure is one of them.
When combined with magnesium, calcium plays a critical role when it comes to regulating the constriction and dilatation of blood vessels. Research suggests calcium can help control high blood pressure, as it has been shown in several clinical trials that indicate increased calcium intake is linked to lower blood pressure and lower risk of hypertension.
Previous studies have noted a reduction in systolic blood pressure as well as diastolic blood pressure per 100 mg of calcium consumed daily. However, most people are not getting enough calcium from their diets, and calcium is one of the vital minerals we need that our body doesn’t produce naturally, which is why supplementing is so important. Foods such as dairy, fish, and leafy greens are all rich in calcium, but they’re often not enough to meet our body’s demands.
The RDA of calcium is between 1,000 and 1,200 mg/day for men ages 51 and older, and 1,200 mg/day for women ages 51 and older.
Foods that Contain These Key Minerals
The easiest and fastest way to ramp up your mineral intake is by making sure you incorporate mineral-rich foods into your daily diet. To get started, these are some of the foods you should look into.
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark chocolate
- Chia seeds
Can These Minerals Alone Control My Blood Pressure?
No. Calcium supplements are entirely safe, and they don’t have an adverse interaction with most commonly prescribed blood pressure medication. However, in some cases, they may interfere with thiazide diuretics and calcium channel blockers.
Supplementing with potassium, magnesium, and calcium will help keep your blood pressure controlled. You still have to consult with a doctor, especially if you’re taking medication to treat hypertension.
In the end, you want to make sure you follow a balanced diet that incorporates these minerals. When needed, turn to high-quality supplements to meet your recommended daily intake to make sure your levels stay balanced.