Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a widespread health problem that affects people of all ages. Because of the lack of obvious symptoms, it gained a reputation as a “silent killer”.
Blood pressure is the force that develops during the passage of blood in the arteries and veins – everything is controlled by the heart, brain, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels. It is measured in two values – systolic (upper value) is the pressure in heart contraction (systole) when expelling blood from the heart into the arteries, and diastolic pressure (lower value) – that is captured when the heart relaxes. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 (systolic / diastolic) or less.
Normal blood pressure varies widely, but if it remains on high values for a long time, it is referred to as hypertension (high blood pressure) – its value exceeds 140/90.
Causes of high blood pressure are unknown in about 80% of the population – usually a combination of factors such as obesity, high alcohol intake, high salt intake, the use of hormonal contraceptives, stress.
Causes of secondary hypertension, however, are already known – diabetes, atherosclerotic vascular changes, pregnancy, increased thyroid function, some side effects of medications, etc.
Generally, men are twice more susceptible to high blood pressure than women.
Nutrition and Hypertension
As soon as we find out that we have a slightly elevated blood pressure (above 140/90), it is advisable to start with lifestyle changes. These include reducing salt intake, stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption, minimize stress and including a regular physical activity.
The supplements are important too – mainly the appropriate balance of calcium and magnesium intake (calcium lowers blood pressure, because it participates in muscle contraction and acts favorably on the heart and blood vessels, magnesium relaxes the muscles that control blood vessels and thus allows a freer flow of blood, among other things, helps maintaining the balance between sodium and potassium, which has a positive effect on blood pressure). From the minerals, potassium is even more important – you can increase it’s intake with regular consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Also, try to include garlic (fresh or supplement) into your diet and essential fatty acids in the form of fish oil (omega-3 acids). The combination of using vitamin C and coenzyme Q10 may also positively affect the overall situation.