5 Nutrients to Lower Your Blood Pressure Part 2

Folate

Folate is one of the B vitamins and lowers levels of homocysteine, which is generated from chemical reactions in the body, and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (8, 9). One of the mechanisms through which homocysteine is thought to exert its effects is damaging the arteries, which allows the build up of fatty deposits, narrowing the blood vessels.

However, research also links high levels of homocysteine with raised blood pressure, suggesting that a diet containing plenty of folate may benefit blood pressure (10, 11). Again, it is largely plant-based foods that supply the most folate, with green leafy vegetables, pulses, avocados, citrus fruits and berries good options to increase your intake of this B vitamin.

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Antioxidants

While you are probably familiar with the antioxidants vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, a range of other plant nutrients also have antioxidant activity. These protective nutrients neutralize free radicals, which if left unchecked go on to damage cells in the body, including the cells in your blood vessels (12, 13).

By maintaining the health of your blood vessels, this keeps them supple, reducing the risk of high blood pressure. There is evidence that certainly for people with peripheral vascular disease – where blood flow is restricted in your legs – antioxidants may reduce blood pressure seen with increased activity (14, 15).

One of the best ways to improve your anti-oxidant status is through a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds which are all rich in arterial protective phytonutrients. Clinically, I will also use powerful neutraceuticals such as Nrf2 Power and Super Glutathione to protect the arteries of those with serious hardening of the arteries.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

For several decades it has been known that these essential fatty acids cut your risk of heart disease and stroke. However, while omega-3 is often spoken about in relation to reducing blood clots, these oils can also lower blood pressure (16, 17).

The mode of action may lie in the fact that there are omega-3 receptors on the channels for potassium in the blood vessels, allowing the flow of potassium, which lowers blood pressure (18, 19). The American Heart Association advises us all to eat 3.5oz of oily fish twice weekly to boost your intake of omega-3 (20).

Good sources of omega-3 include salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and tuna steaks, though women of childbearing age should avoid swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and shark, as these sources of omega-3 are high in mercury (21).

Plant options for omega-3 include flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and their oils, as well as chiaseeds and green leafy vegetables. However, plant omega-3s are not efficiently converted in the body, so it may be more difficult to get enough to have a noticeable impact on your blood pressure. The best vegetarian source is sea algae (22, 23).

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Source: Dr Jockers