Garlic is an herb that is helpful for high blood pressure control. Proponents propose that garlic consumption as food or taking garlic extract as a supplement can help treat high blood pressure. It can also help stop high blood pressure from setting in.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure (hypertension) affects about one in three adults in the U.S. However, garlic is one of the herbs most commonly used to fight high blood pressure. It boosts immunity due to its antioxidant properties. Also, research has shown that it prevents cardiovascular diseases and cancer. It can even treat gastritis.
Since high blood pressure is the main risk factor for heart disease, garlic consumption helps people keep their blood pressure in check. It is thought that garlic lowers blood pressure in part by stimulating nitric oxide production. This is because nitric oxide plays an important role in the widening of blood vessels.
Research on garlic and blood pressure
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), garlic appears to be able to modestly reduce blood pressure.
The research on garlic and blood pressure comprises a report published in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders in 2008. Click here to read the complete research results. Researchers analyzed 11 previously published clinical trials for this report. They found that garlic was superior to placebo in reducing blood pressure among individuals with hypertension.
In another report, researchers reviewed 10 clinical trials assessing the effects of garlic on blood pressure. This report is published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.
Outcomes of the research exposed that the use of garlic was associated with a reduction in blood pressure among those with higher systolic blood pressure. But, the use of garlic was not associated with decreased blood pressure in participants without raised systolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure is a measure of the blood pressure while your heart is beating. It is the top number on a blood pressure reading. While diastolic blood pressure is the lower number on a blood pressure reading. It is a measure of the pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
One of the most recent research on garlic and blood pressure comprises a clinical trial published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013. Click here to read it.
This research involved 79 people with uncontrolled high systolic blood pressure. Therefore, each one of them was on either garlic extract (at a dose of 240 mg, 480 mg, or 960 mg daily) or a placebo dose for 3 months.
By the end of the treatment period, the outcome was quite interesting. It showed that those who took either 480 mg or 960 mg of garlic extract daily exhibited a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. However, those who were on 240 mg of garlic extract dose did not experience a noteworthy decrease in systolic blood pressure.
What are the cautions?
Though garlic in food in normal amounts is likely safe for most people. But the supplement can cause many side effects including heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea. People with bleeding disorders and nursing or pregnant women should not take garlic.
As garlic may slow blood clotting, garlic consumption with blood-thinning medicines or supplements could raise your risk of hostile effects like bruising and bleeding. Moreover, lifestyle practices are also important for blood pressure control. These practices include the following;
- a healthy and balanced diet
- limiting your sodium and alcohol intake
- achieving or maintaining a healthy weight
- exercising regularly
- avoiding smoking
- incorporating stress-reducing techniques into a daily routine
Also, there is also an indication that getting omega-3 fatty acids, maintaining optimum vitamin D levels, and consuming cocoa extract often may also help keep your blood pressure in control.
While increasing your garlic intake may help improve your health and defend against high blood pressure.
In addition to raising your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other heart diseases uncontrolled blood pressure can cause major health issues like kidney damage and vision loss. A high blood pressure may also cause partial or complete memory loss.
If you are considering the use of garlic for high blood pressure control, make sure to consult your doctor before starting your supplement schedule.