Heart disease is becoming much more prevalent in today’s society with stressful work lives and lifestyle choices that lead to conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Reducing high blood pressure is one of the most important ways to keep our health in check. While exercise and choosing good foods to eat can help to lower our high blood pressure, calcium is one nutrient that plays an important role together with the right amount of magnesium to counteract its calcifying properties.
The Importance Of Calcium In Lowering Blood Pressure
Many past studies  led to the discovery that calcium plays a massive role in the process of lowering blood pressure. People who take more than 800mg of calcium each day have a 23 percent decrease in the risk of developing high blood pressure compare to those who consumed less than 400mg a day. Calcium can be taken through supplements and foods such as broccoli, kale, low-fat cheese, sardines and yoghurt.
However, the high absorption of calcium can lead to calcification and the hardening of the arteries which is why many calcium supplements contain magnesium which helps to facilitate the absorption and discharge of calcium in the body. Up until now, it has been recommended to take calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ration in order to get the optimal balance and absorption into the body but new research is overthrowing this to a 1:1 recommendation.
Why The Calcium-Magnesium Ratio Should Be 1:1
The key to optimal calcium absorption for lowering high blood pressure as well as other health benefits is to balance the amount of magnesium. Magnesium is critical for our health yet many of us are deficient, with most people’s calcium to magnesium ratio being 5:1 or higher and that’s a major problem over the long term.
While calcium is needed, it’s calcifying properties need to be counteracted and this is where magnesium plays its part. Magnesium stimulates the hormone calcitonin which draws calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones, lessening blood pressure that could lead to heart attacks. Magnesium also contributes to muscle contraction and relaxation which is crucial in maintaining an optimal blood pressure.
It’s now thought that the old adage of a 2:1 ratio is not enough magnesium to aid the calcium in the blood and stop it causing detrimental damage.
How To Get The Right Amounts In Your Diet
As said previously, getting the right levels of magnesium in the body can be fairly hard if we don’t consciously try to incorporate it. While supplements are great for upping our intake, it’s important to try and get our calcium and magnesium through food as much as possible.
Some people do get a bigger advantage from taking supplements such as African-Americans, elderly, pregnant women, menopausal women, people with salt-sensitivity, individuals with a high sodium intake, and those with Type II diabetes.
Aim to get a magnesium and calcium intake of 700 mg a day from a good diet and a 300 – 400 mg magnesium supplement taken with calcium equalling the same amount.
While foods high in calcium are pretty easy to find, magnesium is a little more tricky but legumes, nuts and seeds are plant-based protein sources that are rich in magnesium. Dark leafy greens, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados and bananas can all add to your magnesium intake and are foods that you can consume alongside calcium-rich foods such as broccoli, kale, low-fat cheese, sardines and yoghurt.
Making sure you include a balanced amount of both nutrients will not only improve your overall health and complete a good counteracting balance, but it will help to keep any high blood pressure issues in check.