#76 Balancing the minerals (64 non-drug ways to lower blood pressure)

Perhaps your systolic (high value) and diastolic (low value) values are both high, or maybe one of them is considerably higher than normal than the other.  It is thought that this information is a clue on potential causes of blood pressure and may lead to more effective blood pressure treatment.

The question is how do higher or lower amounts of dietary potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and salt effect blood pressure. Reducing salt has been shown to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.  Studies show that higher Potassium levels lowers blood pressure in men only. Some studies show that increased Phosphorus intake lowers systolic blood pressure in both men and women while other suggest the opposite.   Some studies show that calcium intake tends to increase both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in men but only diastolic blood pressure in women while other studies show that dietary calcium lowers blood pressure while other forms do not.

Patients with kidney disease are often asked to avoid certain foods that are high in the mineral phosphorus, which is difficult for their compromised kidneys to get rid of.  Unfortunately many processed and fast food actually contains phosphorus additives. Many food manufacturers add phosphate salts to foods particularly meats, cheeses, baked goods, and beverages.

Still, phosphorus from dairy products, but not other sources has been correlated with lower baseline blood pressure and reduced risk of hypertension. Those who used highest amounts of dairy foods were 14 percent less likely to have hypertension compared to those using the lowest amounts of dairy foods.  Most people with adequate diet appear to get adequate amounts of phosphorus, and excess phosphorus has been shown to be harmful to kidneys and health in general.

Given this kind of confusing and conflicting information it not exactly clear what is the best approach in regard to foods with greater or lower amounts of these minerals.   Lowering salt, raising potassium, increasing calcium, and phosphorus appear generally to be beneficial.  Part of the confusion is that different forms of these minerals may have different effects ( as show for example that form of phosphorus is found in) , and relative balance of the various minerals may be also critical factors.  Patients are often told to avoid high fat dairy products, but some studies have shown that those with highest intake of full fat dairy foods were 69 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared with those having lowest intake after adjustment for calcium intake and other confounders.

Generally eating moderate amounts of meat ( not large amounts), eating larger amounts of fresh organically grown vegetables is probably the way to go.  A mixture of some dairy products, but not large amounts again may be beneficial.  Personally, if you only eating a small amount of dairy products, the higher fat variety is probably better for you, but if you consuming large amounts of dairy products, you may want to adjust that to lower fat varieties.

Some foods high in phosphorus include skim milk, nonfat yogurt, cheese, eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, halibut fish, salmon fish, whole wheat bread, enriched white breast, almonds, peanuts, and lentils.    One of my theories is that we need to maintain healthy body weight, and this is more important in general than small differences in various minerals.   The bottom line is perhaps to eat less of the stuff that makes one fat,and to keep exercise levels up, and stress levels down.


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