Eating garlic is widely known as a way to help control blood pressure, but is that fact or fiction? If it lowers blood pressure is the change significant and worth the potential of smelling garlic? Are the benefits as good as medication and do they have the same bad side effects or any others? The controversy has pretty much been decided via a wealth of conclusive studies that show garlic really can lower blood pressure and without the side effects of most medication, but is it enough?
Garlic has been used for a long time to help lower blood pressure naturally.
In ancient times, garlic was used to treat a number of conditions. It was even prescribed by Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine. It contains allicin, which not only gives it a distinctive smell, but also gives it beneficial blood pressure lowering properties. It’s known to boost the immune system. It also protects cells, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and improves cholesterol levels by reducing bad cholesterol.
What is allicin?
Allicin is a sulfur compound that encourages the dilation of the blood vessels, just as nitric oxide that occurs in the body when you exercise. When blood vessels are dilated, the blood flows more easily and there’s less pressure necessary. Allicin also inhibits another protein, angiotensin II, which causes blood vessels to constrict. If they’re not constricted, blood pressure is lower.
Can you eat enough garlic to make a difference?
While studies show that garlic does have a substantial effect on lowering blood pressure, is it enough to say goodbye to medication? The answer varies by the severity of the high blood pressure and other factors, like your activity level and the rest of your diet. Studies show it may lower both the systolic and diastolic numbers by as much as 10%. Other studies show it may lower the top—systolic—number by almost 7 mmHg and the bottom or diastolic number by almost 5 mmHg.
- Garlic also contains manganese, vitamin B6, B1, C, selenium, fiber, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and iron. While it’s an exceptional seasoning with health benefits, it has almost no calories.
- To maximize the benefits of garlic, you have to use it properly. Use the natural garlic bulb, removing cloves for use. Crush a clove of garlic on a cutting by with the flat side of a knife, remove the skin and let the crushed garlic sit for 10 minutes before use.
- Garlic can help protect brain cells and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s the antioxidants in garlic that reduce oxidative stress to protect the brain.
- You can even keep the common cold at bay by including garlic in your diet. Other foods that lower blood pressure include salmon, citrus fruits, beans, pumpkin seeds, berries, celery and broccoli.
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