High blood pressure can be dangerous, as if left untreated it can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The condition can usually be improved by making healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and eating a balanced diet. Salt is a common contributor of high blood pressure, and experts advise cutting down on salt could be enough in some cases to lower blood pressure on its own. It’s also essential to cut down on foods high in saturated fat, as being overweight can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure and the associated complications.
As well as cutting down on unhealthy foods, it could be worth adding certain foods or supplements to your diet that contain blood pressure-lowering properties.
One such spice, which can be added to food or taken as a supplement, is garlic.
According to medical website Healthline, garlic may improve the way the body circulates blood through the blood vessels.
In a meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials, garlic was shown to significantly lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
Diastolic blood pressure measures the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. It is represented by the bottom number on a blood pressure monitor.
Systolic blood pressure measures the force at which the heart pumps blood around the body. It is represented by the top number on a blood pressure monitor.
“Garlic has been used as a diuretic and circulation treatment since the time of ancient Greece,” said Healthline.
“Garlic supplements and raw garlic can both be used to help with high blood pressure.”
The US National Center for Biotechnology Information noted, however, that further trials are needed in order for garlic to formally be recommended to patients with high blood pressure.
“The present review suggests that garlic is an effective and safe approach for hypertension,” said the NCBI.
“However, more rigorously designed randomised controlled trials focusing on primary endpoints with long-term follow-up are still warranted before garlic can be recommended to treat hypertensive patients.”
According to Blood Pressure UK, there is no evidence to show the effects of garlic on blood pressure would last over the long term.
“There is a lot more research that needs to be done before garlic could be recommended as a treatment for high blood pressure,” said Blood Pressure UK.
“Blood pressure medicines continue to have an effect for years, but at the moment, we do not know if daily garlic would have the same effect over a longer period.”
The blood pressure charity did note, however, that garlic could make a suitable alternative to salt in cooking.
“If you are trying to reduce the amount of salt you eat, garlic can really help to boost the flavour of your food.”