Did You Know…that raw garlic can lower high blood pressure by as much as 10%?
Hypertension—or high blood pressure—affects 1 in 3 Americans… subjecting them to an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease! But adding some garlic to your diet—the correct form of garlic, that is—can significantly slash your risk for hypertension and associated cardiovascular illness.
The Heart Healthy Nutrients in a Garlic Clove
A recent meta-analysis of 21 human studies published in the journal Complete Nutrition showed that garlic does indeed exhibit a blood pressure-lowering effect. According to the research, 12 weeks of taking garlic tablets can dramatically reduce your high blood pressure!
The earliest trustworthy study measured the effects of Kwai brand garlic supplements on high blood pressure and found a reduction of as much as 10% in just 12 weeks.
Experts believe that garlic is able to lower blood pressure due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as all-star allicin. Allicin triggers the release of the chemicals nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide, which help to relax the arteries, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and reduce systolic blood pressure. The garlic capsules used in the aforementioned studies all contained a guaranteed dose of 1.8 mg of allicin, which consistently lowered blood pressure.
Garlic contains other heart-healthy antioxidants, including:
Not All Garlic Is All-Powerful
Allicin—perhaps the most potent of all garlic’s heart-healthy nutrients—is produced when raw garlic is crushed or chewed. When garlic is cooked, however, the majority of allicin is lost—along with the garlic’s protective benefits. That’s why garlic is best consumed raw. Chop it up and add it to your salads or mix it with some olive oil and enjoy on a piece of bread. You can even take minced garlic with a spoonful of garlic and honey for an immune-boosting treat.
A study pitting garlic oil against dried garlic found that garlic oil didn’t measure up when it came to blood pressure-lowering effects.
Compared with raw garlic, supplements may offer a fine alternative. According to cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, you’d have to eat nearly 4 raw garlic cloves a day to notice a blood pressure-lowering benefit. High quality garlic tablets offer a healthful and effective option. But be wary of odorless garlic tablets. Allicin is what lends garlic its odiferous qualities, and capsules rendered odorless are often depleted of allicin! If going the supplement route, experts advise that you opt for enteric-coated softgel garlic capsules that are more readily absorbed by the body.
A word of caution: Garlic can have contraindications with many popular medications and health conditions, so experts recommend that you always consult with your health care provider before adding garlic to your supplement regimen.