The best way to make sure your fiber supplement does not interfere with your blood pressure medication is to take the supplement at least an hour before or after you take your medication (or two hours if you must take your medication on an empty stomach). Otherwise, the fiber can flush the drug out of your body, preventing it from doing its job.
Fiber helps prevent constipation, but it's also essential to overall health: It's been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Women should aim to get 21 to 25 grams of fiber each day (men need 30 to 38 grams), preferably from food. Some good sources include lentils (15.6 grams of fiber per cup), black beans (15 g per cup), peas (8.8 g per cup), Brussels sprouts (6.4 g per cup), and whole-wheat noodles (6.3 g per cup).
If you're taking a fiber supplement because you're suffering from constipation, it could be because blood pressure medication can drain the body of magnesium, the lack of which contributes to symptoms of constipation. Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps relax the muscles of the intestines and acts like a gentle laxative. Magnesium also relaxes the muscles in your blood vessels, so it has a natural blood pressure-lowering effect. To stay regular and keep your blood pressure in check, eat plenty of magnesium- rich foods like seaweed, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
-Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., author and coauthor of 12 books, including The Magnesium Miracle (Ballantine, 2007)
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