Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the precursor of serious health problems. To give you a flavour, the condition can hike your risk of heart attacks and strokes – both considered the leading causes of death. The good news is that a healthy diet can prove a strong weapon against a high reading, with one food being especially potent.
Whether you use it as a base for your pasta sauce or as an extra flavour for your salad dressings, garlic doesn’t only offer its characteristic pungent taste.
The little bulb that can be bought for as little as 20p could also reduce your blood pressure.
What’s more, research, published in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, found that its effects are similar to anti-hypertensive medications.
Recognised for its cardiovascular benefits, garlic has been linked to lower arterial stiffness as well as blood stickiness in previous studies.
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Based on this, the researchers have decided to review studies, focusing on Kyolic aged garlic extract and hypertension.
Kyolic aged garlic extract is a powder manufactured from organically grown garlic bulbs, which have undergone a 20-month ageing process in 70 percent ethanol at room temperature.
The researchers settled on 12 trials that met their criteria, offering 553 participants with high blood pressure for a review.
The team chose randomised double-blind placebo trials that lasted for a minimum of two months.
This type of research describes a study that involves humans separated into various groups in which neither side knows who’s getting what treatment, with a placebo being administered to a control group.
The analysis of these trials revealed garlic supplements were able to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
The researchers noted: “The average reduction in systolic blood pressure of 8–10 mmHg induced by garlic supplements, alone or in combination with other blood pressure medications, is comparable to that of conventional standard blood pressure drug therapeutics.”
This reduction was also associated with a 16 to 40 lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
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The garlic extract also significantly lowered central blood pressure, pulse pressure, pulse wave velocity and arterial stiffness.
Despite the remarkable effects of the supplement in the review, The Cleveland Clinic recommends skipping dietary products and going for garlic in its raw form instead.
Furthermore, the health portal spoke to cardiologist Ashish Sarraju who suggests that research is still pretty limited.
For example, there’s a theory that vitamin B12 plays a role in garlic’s effectiveness at lowering blood pressure.
The health portal added: “If garlic does indeed lower blood pressure, we’re still not completely sure how.
“Our best guess is that our red blood cells respond to the sulphur in garlic, creating nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gasses.
“These compounds relax and expand our blood vessels.”
Despite Dr Sarraju’s opinion that the data isn’t currently strong enough, he did recommend including garlic in your cooking.
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