Garlic lowers blood pressure

garlicRecent research has shown that garlic can lower blood pressure but it has many other health-giving properties too.  Garlic is a traditional herbal remedy often recommended by herbalists and Chinese herbalists as it is naturally antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibiotic.
It can thin the blood, lower blood pressure, fight infection, boost the immune system, prevent and ease colds and flu, encourage healthy skin, and kill off parasites that lurk in our systems. It is believed that it may even fight cancer.

Research at the University of Adelaide examined 11 studies in which participants had been given garlic supplements or a placebo. They found that taking a garlic supplement (from 600mg to 900mg) every day reduced blood pressure often by as much as medication such as beta blockers or ACE inhibitors would.

High blood pressure affects 16 million people in the UK. The researchers led by Dr Karin Ried at the University of Adelaide, found that garlic supplements reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.6mm HG on average but those with particularly high blood pressure showed even bigger reductions of systolic blood pressure – 8.4mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 7.3mm.

Reducing systolic blood pressure by four to five points and diastolic blood pressure by two to three points can cut the risk of heart disease or heart disease-related death by up to 20 per cent.

It hasn’t been shown in studies whether eating garlic has the same effect, but it would probably need to be a lot. It is the allicin in garlic which provides its health giving properties and gives it such a pungent smell.  Y you may need to eat a garlic clove a day to get the amount you can readily get in a supplement. Supplements of 600mg to 900mg have around 3.6mg to 5.4mg of allicin, whereas a fresh garlic clove contains 5mg to 9mg.

It is, however, a healthy choice to eat fresh garlic every day in cooking, and even better if you can eat it raw in tzatziki or other hot or cold food. It may mean that you stink of garlic though and not everyone is prepared to do that! Certainly worth doing if you are in the grip of a dreadful cold, because no-one wants to come near you anyway!

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