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Spices are a significant part of our daily diet. They enrich our cuisine with flavour, colour, and aroma. And would have thought that consuming them on a daily basis could help keep your blood pressure in check? Well, according to a September 2021 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate more herbs and spices recorded lower blood pressure (BP) readings 24 hours later. So, are you ready to utilize its medicinal properties to bring down your high BP?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects more people than you may imagine nowadays. The first thing that comes to mind when considering strategies to treat hypertension is medication. But dietary and lifestyle adjustments can make a big difference.
Health Shots spoke to Divya Gopal, Consultant – Dietitian /Nutritionist, Motherhood Hospital, Banashankari, Bengaluru, to find out which spices can help manage high BP.
According to Gopal, using spices can help you better deal with high blood pressure and reduce many risks of heart diseases. In fact, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend in order to reduce high blood pressure, you need to reduce your salt intake and suggest using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor food.
One of the most commonly available spices in Kitchen is garlic. Gopal says, “Garlic is well-known for its medicinal properties and it is really common to find it in Indian meals. It is rich in many compounds that are good for heart health.” Allicin is one of its primary compounds which may help in reducing high blood pressure and in relaxing your blood vessels. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibiotics properties makes it one of the best spices.
Basil is rich in a plant-antioxidant- eugenol which helps in lowering the blood pressure as it acts as a natural calcium channel blocker in your body. A research published in Journal of Nutrition, used a blend of several spices which includes basil, found that they can lower your blood pressure. Apart from this, the essential oils in basil reduce the level of triglycerides and cholesterol in your body.
Not only for the heart, cinnamon is a great spice for your overall health. It is a flavored spice that we get from the barks of a cinnamon tree. “This spice helps in reducing high blood pressure and relaxes and dilates the blood vessels,” says Gopal. Along with this, it can improve the regulation of blood sugar level, prevent hair issues, and prevent gut infections.
Cardamom is known for its odour and amazing flavor but did you know that this sweet spice contains antioxidants that are known to reduce high blood pressure by acting as a natural calcium channel blocker? Well now you do. In fact, stage-1 hypertension patients who consumed 1.5 gms (twice daily) doses of cardamom for three months reported a significant reduction in systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure, according to research published in the Indian Journal Of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
It is a versatile spice that is used very commonly in Indian kitchens. Gopal says, “Consumption of it improves many aspects of heart health, including circulation, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.” It also helps in relaxing blood vessels.
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