The results are in – magnesium can have a positive effect on your blood pressure. It’s time to load up on the leafy greens and feel the benefit!Magnesium is involved in over 300 different processes in the body. It helps keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy, and now evidence shows it has a role to play in reducing our blood pressure too.
Why high blood pressure mattersBlood pressure is the force of blood moving around your body, pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. High blood pressure means your blood pressure is higher than recommended levels, putting extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, and increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. You may not realise you have high blood pressure, as it has no clear symptoms, so you should get your blood pressure checked regularly by your GP, especially if you’re over the age of 40.
Magnesium and high blood pressureIn 2016, US researchers analysing the results of 34 clinical trials, involving over 2,000 people, found a link between magnesium intake and reduced blood pressure. Those who took magnesium were found to have both lower blood pressure and improved blood flow that, in turn, could lower blood pressure. A previous study by the University of Hertfordshire in 2012 revealed that not only could magnesium reduce blood pressure, the effect increased in line with increased dosage. In other words, the higher the intake of magnesium, the greater the drop in blood pressure.
It’s thought that magnesium helps the body release prostacyclin, a hormone-like compound that reduces tension in blood vessel walls.
How magnesium works with other mineralsIf you eat a diet with lots of salt – found in processed and junk foods – this not only directly pushes up your blood pressure, it can mean you’re not getting enough magnesium, calcium or potassium too.
Potassium helps the walls of the blood vessels relax, while calcium helps them tighten and relax properly. These minerals work alongside magnesium to maintain a healthy blood pressure, so eating a balanced, colourful diet is a must.
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Up your magnesium intakeYou can find magnesium in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale, pumpkin seeds, wholegrain foods like brown bread or porridge, lentils, chickpeas and dark chocolate. Other ways to lower blood pressure include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding too much salt and saturated fat, staying active and quitting smoking if you haven’t already.
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