Eat Garlic to Naturally Lower Your Blood Pressure
Garlic is used extensively in Asian and Italian cuisines to add flavor to the dishes. When you eat these dishes, you are benefiting your heart as well as your entire body. You can further increase the effectiveness of garlic by eating it raw or mixing raw crushed garlic in your salad.
Several hundred years ago garlic was also used around the world as medicine to treat several illnesses including flu and blood pressure. The Chinese used it to treat high blood pressure and other heart-related illnesses.
Garlic contains powerful antioxidants that strengthen your immune system, detoxify harmful carcinogens from the body, and provide several health benefits for your heart. It benefits your heart by lowering your cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and improving blood circulation to and from the heart.
The effectiveness of garlic comes from a sulfur compound called allicin. Research study about allicin shows that it is effective in lowering blood pressure among patients with severe hypertension within five hours. Another study from University of Alabama found that eating as few as two garlic cloves can relax your arteries by triggering the red blood cells to release hydrogen sulfide (H2S).
Garlic also stimulates the production of nitric oxide synthase which plays an important role in improving blood circulation and lowering blood pressure. Nitric oxide synthase enzymes help produce nitric oxide which dilates blood vessels by relaxing the smooth muscles in the linings.
Nitric oxide is an important blood pressure regulator that helps keep the blood vessels open naturally. Medical researchers have found that the amount of nitric oxide in blood vessels is low during the early stages of arteriosclerosis. In fact, nitric oxide deficiency can lead to spiraling blood pressure. Higher blood pressure causes the inactivation of nitric oxide, which leads to even more increase in pressure. Nitric oxide is also produced when you exercise for a period of time. That’s why exercise is so important in controlling blood pressure.
Garlic is a good source of selenium which plays a key role in detoxifying your body against free radicals. It is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. By lowering oxidation of harmful cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol, these antioxidants reduce your risk of heart disease. They also eliminate free radicals, decrease your inflammation and help lower blood pressure.
To get the full benefits of garlic, it is better to eat 1-2 raw garlic cloves every day. The best way to eat is to chop or crush your garlic and let it sit for a couple of minutes. By doing so, you release the most amount of allicin. If you cook or microwave it, you will lose most of the effectiveness of allicin.
You are probably thinking that all these benefits sound great but you do not like the garlic smell that lasts for several hours. The good news is that you can neutralize the bad odor by mixing garlic with milk. A study in Journal of Food and Science showed that a food or beverage with high water and fat content such as milk is effective in neutralizing the garlic odor. Full fat milk is more effective than skim milk because of higher fat content.
If you are a vegan and do not drink milk, there are some options. According to Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, you can get rid of the smell by chewing parsley immediately after eating garlic. Another option is to nibble cardamom or fenugreek seeds shortly after taking the garlic.
If you do not like the idea of eating garlic at all, the easiest alternative is to buy odorless garlic capsules from your nearest health store. However, keep in mind that actual raw crushed garlic is way more effective than the capsules.
Just because it is natural does not mean that you do not have to be careful. If you are taking aspirin or blood thinning medication, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking large doses of garlic on a regular basis. Garlic also thins your blood and prevents blood clot. The combination of your blood thinning medicine and garlic may increase the risk of bleeding.
Overall, garlic can lower your blood pressure without any major side effect. Instead of side effects, it will provide other side benefits such as better immunity against flu, protection from carcinogens and reduction in cholesterol levels.