High blood pressure is often branded the “silent killer” because it tends to creep up announced and only reveal itself when it is serious. The condition can raise a person’s risk of developing deadly cardiovascular complications. Growing research suggests adding certain supplements to a healthy, balanced diet can help to keep the risks at bay. Studies point to the health benefits of a taking French maritime bark extract.
Pycnogenol may improve circulation and help lower blood pressure
French maritime bark extract is a dietary supplement that uses the antioxidant power of flavonoids. Plant compounds such as flavonoids have been reported to exert beneficial effects in cardiovascular disease, including controlling blood pressure.
Pycnogenol, which is derived from French maritime bark, may improve circulation and help lower blood pressure. Participants in a small study took 125 mg of pycnogenol daily for 12 weeks and had significant benefit.
Another study, published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the study also found a statistically significant decrease in patients’ blood pressure when taking pycnogenol in conjunction with Ramipril – a medicine widely used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
When treated exclusively with Ramipril, systolic blood pressure values dropped by more than 30 per cent and diastolic blood pressure values dropped approximately eight per cent.
The addition of pycnogenol decreased both systolic and diastolic pressures by an additional three to six percent.
As Blood Pressure UK explained, systolic blood pressure is the top number or highest blood pressure when the heart is squeezing and pushing. Diastolic pressure is the bottom number or lowest blood pressure between heart beats.
“We have discovered that 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,” said the health site.
Garlic extract has also been shown to lower blood pressure. One meta-analysis found that garlic significantly lowered both diastolic and systolic blood pressure in randomised clinical trials.
Find out more about the health benefits of taking garlic extract here.
Other ways to lower blood pressure
As the NHS explained, following a heart-healthy diet plays an essential role in controlling blood pressure.
A low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables to helps lower blood pressure, noted health site.
It is also imperative to lose weight. “Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure,” explained the health site.
Regular exercise can also help a person lose weight, which will also help lower their blood pressure.
“Adults should do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week,” advised the NHS.
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