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Posts Tagged ‘hypertension’

High Blood Pressure and Magnesium

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on April 2, 2009

Magnesium is not a mineral that tops discussions very often; however, magnesium is critical to over 300 bodily functions.  Magnesium maintains normal muscle and nerve function, helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and heart rhythm, maintains bone strength, and supports a healthy immune system. 

Many people consume a diet low in magnesium receiving less than two-thirds of the recommended dietary allowance. Good magnesium sources include whole grains, spinach, broccoli, squash, beans, popcorn, nuts, pork, and seeds. Fair sources of magnesium include dairy products, chocolate, and meats.
 
A magnesium deficiency takes a long time to develop. Magnesium deficiency symptoms include irregular heartbeat, weakness, fatigue, numbness, muscle pain, disorientation, and seizures. Conditions related to increased risk for magnesium deficiency include alcoholism, poorly controlled diabetes, intestinal disorders (Crohn’s disease), and intake of certain medications (diuretics). Sup-optimal levels of magnesium intake have been linked with diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and pregnancy discomfort.
 
Diabetes
 
When someone has type II diabetes they are making adequate insulin levels. The problem with type II diabetes is that the cells do not recognize the insulin. When cells do not recognize insulin they do not let sugar from the blood enter the cell and blood sugar levels remain elevated. This leads to sugar spilling over into the urine, organ damage, and other complications. Magnesium is a factor in this because it’s the “key” that opens the door for insulin to get into the cell.  If magnesium levels are low there are no keys to open the door and insulin is unable to do its job resulting in continued high blood sugar levels.  When diabetes is poorly controlled the loss of magnesium in the urine is even greater.
 
Hypertension
 
Blood levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium are closely connected and all influence blood pressure. Studies have linked low magnesium levels with elevated blood pressure. As an aside, if you have ever been told to eat a banana by your doctor, you should also increase your magnesium intake. FYI – Bananas are not the best source of potassium – potatoes are!
 
Osteoporosis
 
Magnesium is a major component of the matrix (middle) of bones. Low magnesium levels cause fragile bones that are less flexible and have a slower recovery rate if injured.
 
Pregnancy
 
Adequate levels of magnesium are related to decreased leg cramps during pregnancy. A magnesium deficiency is also a risk factor for gestational diabetes.
 
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Magnesium:
 
Men 350 mg per day
Women 280 mg
Pregnancy 300 mg
Lactation 355 mg first 6 months; 340 mg next 6 months
 
You do NOT want to take megadoses of magnesium – more is not better in this case.  You just want enough to meet the RDA. If you feel your intake of magnesium from foods is low, taking a basic multivitamin is a simple way to ensure you meet your needs. Read the multivitamin label carefully because not all multivitamins include magnesium. Always check with your doctor before altering your medications or supplements.
 
Bottom Line:
 
Magnesium may not be an exciting mineral, but it is critical.  Ensure you are eating adequate sources of magnesium rich foods and/or consider a supplement to promote optimum health.
 

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Lower Blood Pressure – Chicken Soup for The Heart

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 24, 2008

I read some interesting research lately that I want to share related to chicken and blood pressure.

We know that blood pressure is a significant risk fact for heart disease and stroke. It’s estimated that around 1 billion people worldwide live with high blood pressure. Being able to control high blood pressure through food selection is very important.

The collagen in chicken is being researched for use as a blood pressure medication, with actions similar to ACE inhibitors (i.e. lisinopril). Japanese studies have found 4 proteins in the chicken that contain collagen with actions similar to the blood pressure medication when tested in rats.

Chicken legs and feet contain more collagen that chicken breast meat. FYI – The legs and feet are the yellow part of a chicken with a nail on the end. A “chicken collagen hydrolysate” was prepared in the study and fed to rats and the effects on blood pressure where examined. The rates showed a drop in blood pressure 4 hours after receive the mixture orally, with the lowest blood pressure reading after 8 hours. Long term studies showed improved blood pressure after one week of treatment, with a significant reduction after 2 weeks.

The study states that the “chicken collagen hydrolysate” mixture used in the study is composed of foods that can be easily added to a typical daily diet. For individuals with high blood pressure, increasing intake of these foods will promote a normal blood pressure. What I want to know – who is going to eat a chicken leg/foot? How do the researchers think that will become a normal part of the diet? My question wasn’t answered in the study results! I’m thinking it’ll be made into a food additive that will allow certain foods to be marketed as “functional” for blood pressure reduction, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The title of this post was just to catch your attention, I’m not recommending you eat more chicken soup to lower your blood pressure. Way too much sodium added to soup for it to be beneficial!
I’d love to have you as a reader for The Heart of Health ezine where I share regular heart health and weight loss tips.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson
Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

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9 Steps to Lower High Blood Pressure

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on September 28, 2008

Today is World Heart Day, so I want to give nine steps that will lead to high blood pressure control and ultimately heart health!If you live with high blood pressure, you’re familiar with the side effects of anti-hypertensive medications. Fortunately, medications are not the only way to rein in high blood pressure.

Lifestyle plays a key role. By altering some choices you make, you can avoid or reduce the need for medications.

Here are 9 steps that will start you towards blood pressure control.

1. Put out the cigarette.

There is a significant blood pressure rise with every cigarette you smoke.

2. Pour out the liquor.

More than two drinks daily for men and one for women can elevate blood pressure. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

3. Get off the couch.

Inactivity equals an increased heart rate. Increased heart rate means the heart must pump harder and exert more force on artery walls. Shoot for 30 minutes of activity 5 or more days each week. Get moving!

4. Chill out.

Do you turn to cigarettes, alcohol, or food to cope with stress? If so, find a new method ASAP. Possibilities include meditating, taking a bubble bath, going for a long walk – whatever works for you.

5. Do NOT chew the fat.

Reduce saturated fat intake (i.e. trim visible fat off meat, switch to low fat milk). Replace saturated fats (such as shortening, butter, and ice cream) with unsaturated fats (such as canola oil, margarine, and low fat yogurt).

6. Use fatty acids.

Become omega 3 savvy and consume omega 3 fatty acids everyday (i.e. salmon, walnuts, canola oil, herring, and avocados).

7. Stop shaking the salt.

Taste your food before salting it! Read food labels to limit sodium intake to 2300 milligrams per day. Most Americans consume 6-18 grams daily. Pull out herbs and spices in place of the salt shaker.

8. Rake in the roughage.

Make whole grain products, fruits, and vegetables your friends. The more the merrier. A high fiber diet is necessary for heart health. You need 25-35 grams of dietary fiber daily. A fruit serving generally provides 2-4 grams of fiber, whole grain pasta 5 grams, and you can find 100% whole wheat bread with 5 grams.

9. Know your minerals.

Three minerals play critical roles in blood pressure management – potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Potassium

If you are treating high blood pressure with a diuretic, you are excreting potassium. Two of the best potassium sources are potatoes and bananas.

Magnesium

As you switch from refined grains to whole grains your magnesium intake will increase. Magnesium is lost when grains are refined (bran and germ removed). Also, diuretics have the same effect on magnesium as they do potassium.

Calcium

Get your 3 a day. You need 3 servings of low fat dairy everyday. High fat dairy does not have the same protective effect when combating high blood pressure. One dairy serving is equal to 8 oz. of milk, 8 oz. yogurt, 1-1/2 oz cheese, and 1/2 cup cottage cheese.

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