If your blood pressure reading is high during a check-up, your doctor will likely ask you to do one or all of these three things:
- Cut down on salt.
- Exercise more.
- Take a hypertension drug.
An eye-opening study shows that you may not need to do any of that to bring down your blood pressure.
It found that increasing your intake of one crucial mineral may lower your blood pressure to normal levels.
One Mineral Stops High Blood Pressure
Research published in the American Journal of Physiology found that zinc helps your body get rid of hypertension-causing sodium. The study compared mice with zinc deficiency to those with normal levels of the mineral. The mice lacking zinc had decreased urinary sodium excretion and higher blood pressure.
After getting more zinc, the animals’ sodium levels fell and so did their blood pressure.
Although this was an animal study, the researchers believe zinc has the same effect in humans. The mineral helps kidneys work more efficiently to eliminate sodium. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
Simple At-Home Test for Zinc Deficiency
Some 40% of older Americans are zinc deficient. As you get older, your body loses the ability to absorb zinc. So as you age, you need more of it to avoid a deficiency.
Zinc deficiency is linked not only to high blood pressure, but to common chronic conditions such as kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. One study found that even minor zinc deficiency may cause DNA damage in humans.
Lack of zinc also harms your immune system and can raise your risk of pneumonia, infections, and age-related macular degeneration.
How can you tell if you need more zinc?
There aren’t any good laboratory screenings. But there is a simple test you can do at home. It was first reported in the medical journal The Lancet.
Get a bottle of liquid zinc assay. It’s available from online health retailers and medical supply stores.
Taste a spoonful. If it tastes like water, you are deficient. If it tastes bitter, your body has adequate levels.
Go here for a detailed guide.
7 Foods High in Zinc
You can get zinc from a wide variety of foods, mostly meats and seafood. Here are seven excellent food sources of zinc:
- Oysters, 52 mg per six oysters
- Beef chuck steak, 30 mg per 10 ounces
- Chicken, 5 mg per thigh and leg piece
- Pork chops, 4 mg per 6 ounces
- Lentils, 3 mg per cup
- Oatmeal, 2 mg per cup
- Shiitake mushrooms, 2 mg per cup
The most reliable way to make sure you get enough zinc is to take a supplement. This is especially true for vegetarians because foods highest in zinc come from animal sources.
Look for supplements that contain the zinc gluconate form. It is more active than other zinc compounds. Typical doses are up to 50 mg a day for immune support.
Zinc supplements are considered safe. Side effects are rare and generally mild. Some people do get an upset stomach after taking it.
Getting enough zinc is the natural way to lower your blood pressure while improving your overall health.
Editor’s Note: There is a heart attack risk factor that is 10 times more dangerous than cholesterol. But mainstream doctors don’t test for it. And statins actually make it worse.