Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Eat your greens to keep your blood pressure low!

Blood pressure measurement being taken
Do you have high blood pressure or hypertension?  Do you have a balanced diet?  Do you eat your greens as your mother always told you to do?   Having elevated blood pressure or hypertension is a major risk factor for mortality from cardiovascular and renal disease.  And causes of hypertension include (but are not limited to) smoking, sedentary lifestyle, a diet high in sodium and an inadequate intake of other minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

In a paper published in advance online in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a team of researchers led by Lindsy Kass, from the School of Life Sciences, has found that magnesium supplements may offer small but clinically significant reductions in blood pressure.

The team conducted a meta-analysis by identifying 141 papers, of which, twenty-two trials involving 1,173 people were used to assess the effects of magnesium on blood pressure.  The primary outcomes measured were systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure at the end of the follow up period.

In the trials, the magnesium supplementation doses ranged from 120 to 973mg.  Although not all individual trials showed significance in blood pressure reduction, the overall data (when combined) indicated that magnesium supplementation reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.  With the best results observed at the higher dosages.

If you want to ensure that you’re taking enough magnesium, dietary sources of magnesium include meat, grain, nuts, starches, milk and green, leafy vegetables – so dietary supplements aren’t always necessary.

So remember to eat your greens to keep your blood pressure low!

The full research papers can be viewed online at the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition at  and will be available in the July print issue.

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