High blood pressure is a chronic condition that can lead to a host of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, the condition can be managed through slight dietary modifications. One spice, when added to your food, has shown promise when it comes to regulating blood pressure levels.
It is widely known that spices contain a host of properties that can help the body deal with hypertension and high cholesterol.
In one study conducted by Chennai’s Sri Ramachandra University, researchers showed that the garam masala spice, which consists of ginger, cardamom, cumin and pepper, can lower high blood pressure.
The researchers said the blend of spice could hold the cure to treating blood pressure naturally.
Doctor Thanikachalam said: “These spices are used in particular quantities in many parts of Tamil Nadu for treatment of blood pressure but there is no validation or scientific research.’
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“During our research, we found tremendous results on lab rats. We will be continuing further observation on the animals before applying for clinical trials on humans.
“We have successfully tested it on rates, induced with the hypertension condition but the real objective is to work on chronic patients.”
Researchers speculate it is the anti-oxidant properties of garam masala that lower blood pressure and high cholesterol.
These same properties of the spices are believed to help lower inflammation in the body, which is one of the hallmarks of many diseases.
The researchers said they wished to develop spices into drugs that could be administered to hypertensive patients who are unable to afford mainstream medicines.
The study adds evidence to a line of research advocating the benefits of eating spices for high blood pressure.
Previous studies have suggested that eating curry leaves may benefit heart health by increasing blood flow and boosting blood vessel function.
It is said, however, that more research is needed to confirm the lowering effects of curry leaves on high blood pressure.
Other studies probing the effects of curcumin and turmeric on blood pressure found the spice significantly reduced systolic blood pressure levels, but not diastolic pressure.
The researchers of one study concluded: “The present meta-analysis suggests that consuming turmeric may improve systolic blood pressure when administered in long durations. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.”
As a guide, the NHS says that high blood pressure is anything higher than 140/90mmHg.
When blood pressure ranges between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, however, it could mean you’re at risk of hypertension and need to take steps to prevent further complications.
Hypertension rarely produces blatant symptoms, which means the condition often goes unnoticed until it has inflicted substantial damage to the body.
John Maingay, the director of policy at the British Heart Foundation explained: “This is why it is referred to as a silent killer.
“It’s important that you get your blood pressure checked, especially if you have a family history of heart and circulatory disease.”
In the rare instances where symptoms do occur, they will typically include early-morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes and buzzing in the ears.