Lets talk about hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Yesterday I posted about how toxic metals can cause hypertension, but there are many other important factors to consider when someone has high blood pressure. One of these factors is mineral status.
Minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, zinc and magnesium all play a very important roles with the regulation of blood pressure and fluid balance in the body.
Potassium intake has become a big issue. Most Americans do not get enough potassium, because it is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. If you think about what humans would have access to if we all had to grow our own food and live off the land, we would not have access to much salt, but we would eat a ton of plant based foods, which are very high in potassium. In modern times, this has shifted due to high sodium, hyper palatable, processed foods being so abundant. We now consume high amounts of salt and not nearly enough potassium, throwing off our fluid balance and promoting hypertension.
Magnesium is another mineral that is frequently deficient among Americans. Magnesium is a natural vasodilator (widens blood vessels), diuretic and calcium channel blocker. Higher dietary intake of magnesium has been shown to help lower blood pressure, because of these mechanisms.
Zinc is a natural central alpha agonist. What does that mean? That in addition to its many roles in the body, it lowers blood pressure! Low serum levels of this mineral are associated with high blood pressure!
Calcium (especially with vitamin D) also plays a role in regulating blood pressure and increased calcium intake (seeds, nuts, leafy greens) has been linked to a decrease in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
Suboptimal amounts of certain minerals are a real concern with hypertension, yet it seems these are almost never discussed! Do you know your mineral status?