High blood pressure causes your blood vessels to narrow because the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is consistently too high.
This means your heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body – a mechanism that can lead to a heart attack.
Luckily, the condition is easily reversed by making healthy tweaks to your lifestyle.
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Experts agree that your overall dietary approach is more important than focusing on specific items to stop your blood pressure soaring.
That being said, a growing body of evidence has found that taking certain supplements may bring blood pressure-lowering benefits so including them in your diet may help to keep the condition in check.
Here are three such supplements:
French maritime bark extract
Pycnogenol, another name for French maritime bark extract, may improve circulation and help lower blood pressure.
Evidence attributes the effect to antioxidants found in the tree extract called flavonoids.
Antioxidants are compounds that are thought to play a role in protecting against heart disease – a complication of high blood pressure – by interfering with molecules known as “free radicals”.
Free radicals are thought by some to cause damage to blood vessels, which can disrupt the flow of blood to the heart.
Participants in a small study took 125 mg of pycnogenol daily for 12 weeks and saw a significant reduction in their blood pressure readings.
Potassium regulates high blood pressure by countering the negative effects of salt.
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Having too much salt raises your blood pressure but potassium counters this harmful process by flushing the salt out of your body.
While potassium can be found in a number of foods, such as spinach and tomatoes, a review of studies found that potassium supplements helped decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic and systolic blood pressure are the two numbers used to measure your blood pressure reading.
Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats and diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.
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According to Blood Pressure UK, systolic blood pressure is more important than diastolic blood pressure because it gives the best idea of your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Dietary fibre describes a class of plant-based carbohydrates, such as wholegrain cereals and fruits such as berries.
Eating plenty of fibre-rich foods has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, markers of heart disease.
Evidence has also found that taking dietary fibre supplements may lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
In fact, one review suggests that supplementing the diet with about 12 grams of fibre per day could help reduce blood pressure by a small amount.
Other ways to lower your blood pressure
Combining a healthy, balanced diet with regular exercise can help you lose weight – this plays a key role in reducing blood pressure.
As the NHS explains, being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure.
“Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week,” advises the health body.
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