It’s estimated that 75 percent of Americans don’t meet the recommended intake for magnesium. Are you one of them? Magnesium deficiency is often asymptomatic but is linked with many physical and mental health problems. If you have high blood pressure, low magnesium may be one of the underlying causes. Learn more about how magnesium supports your heart health and how these magnesium-rich foods can lower your blood pressure.
How does magnesium lower blood pressure?
Magnesium is a powerful mineral involved in over 600 biochemical reactions in the body and can prevent heart disease, stroke, and arrhythmias. It can also help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and in those with normal blood pressure.
One study showed that consuming 500-1000mg of magnesium per day lowered systolic pressure by up to 5.6 points and diastolic pressure by up to 2.8 points. Magnesium lowers blood pressure by acting on the cardiovascular system through several mechanisms.
Improves endothelial function
The endothelium is the thin inner lining of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction can lead to atherosclerosis – the abnormal thickening and hardening of the artery walls. Research shows that magnesium supports endothelial function and prevents arterial stiffness.
Increases nitric oxide production
Magnesium boosts nitric oxide production, a substance in the body that supports vasodilation, the relaxation of blood vessels.
Decreases oxidative stress
By supporting antioxidant defense, magnesium helps battle oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is linked with plaque buildup in the arteries and may also cause constriction of the blood vessels.
Acts as a natural calcium channel blocker
When calcium enters the cardiovascular system cells, blood vessels constrict and the heart contracts more strongly. Magnesium acts as a natural calcium channel blocker, relaxing the heart and blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.
If you struggle with insomnia, low magnesium may be the culprit. Magnesium can relax the nervous system and support restful sleep. Better sleep means less inflammation, a well-regulated nervous system, and lower blood pressure.
Mental health support
Depression and anxiety can throw the nervous system out of balance, increase sympathetic activation, and drive up blood pressure. Some researchers theorize that magnesium deficiency may be a root cause of depression and other mental health disorders.
Magnesium targets high blood pressure on many fronts. It’s not surprising that magnesium can boost the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. Adding more magnesium is a great way to support yourself if you want to wean off pharmaceuticals. As you cut back on medication, make sure you work closely with a physician and monitor your blood pressure daily.
Signs of low magnesium
Many people who eat the typical American diet are magnesium deficient. Processed foods simply don’t have the nutrients we need. Some common early signs of low magnesium include:
- Poor appetite
- Nausea & vomiting
Test, don’t guess
Most of the time, magnesium deficiency is asymptomatic and goes unnoticed. Without proper testing, there’s no way to know for sure if your magnesium levels are low. Potassium helps support the effectiveness of magnesium, so you want to make sure those levels are adequate as well.
Micronutrient Testing can give you so much information on these minerals and other essential vitamins. Testing provides awareness of your body’s specific deficiencies and can help you take a more targeted approach in bringing down your blood pressure.
Magnesium-rich foods for high blood pressure
Food is truly the best medicine for lowering blood pressure naturally. Add these magnesium-rich foods to your diet to lower your blood pressure. Men should get 400-420mg daily, and women should aim for 310-320mg. Choose organic options whenever possible.
Spinach is called a superfood for a reason. It’s packed with essential nutrients, including plenty of magnesium. Other leafy greens, such as swiss chard and kale, are also high in magnesium.
Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants. They make a great snack on their own, or you can sprinkle them on salads.
Almonds are one of the best nuts for your heart! They’re antioxidant-rich and contain plenty of Vitamin E. Cashews, walnuts, and Brazil nuts are also high in magnesium and are excellent choices for a crunchy snack.
Artichokes are considered a superfood because of their high magnesium levels, antioxidants, prebiotics, and potassium. One study found that artichoke intake reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when supplemented over 12 weeks.
Avocados are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats and magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Try making homemade guacamole, and add to your favorite paleo Mexican dish!
Wild-caught salmon is another magnesium-rich source of healthy protein. Salmon also has the added bonus of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin D, which can reduce inflammation and help your heart even more!
This popular summer squash is high in magnesium and fiber. Zucchini also contains antioxidants, especially in the skin. Try using a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles for a healthier alternative to pasta.
Sweet potatoes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, providing gut-related health benefits. They also contain beta-carotene, which can help prevent vision loss and optical disease.
Cacao is a delicious form of minimally processed chocolate with many health benefits. In addition to magnesium, cacao contains flavanols, which have antioxidant properties.
Magnesium supplements for low blood pressure
It may be necessary to supplement with magnesium, especially if you’re deficient. Magnesium supplements are generally safe and have very few side effects. There are many different forms of magnesium on the market, and the options can be overwhelming.
For high blood pressure, we recommend Magne 5. This supplement contains five different forms of magnesium that are easily absorbed. For best results, take three capsules at bedtime.
For an extra boost, you can also try an Epsom salt bath. Soaking in Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate lets magnesium absorb through the skin. This can help reduce inflammation and calm your nervous system after a stressful day.
However you get your magnesium, just make sure you’re getting enough of it. Keep alcohol intake to a minimum, as this can interfere with magnesium absorption. Magnesium is one of the most critical minerals for bringing down your blood pressure naturally. Consider advanced micronutrient testing to determine your magnesium levels and incorporate Magne 5 into your supplement routine if your levels are low.
Include these natural sources into your diet today to lower your blood pressure and secure your 100 Year Heart.
Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well
Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD