High blood pressure rarely has any noticeable symptoms. The best way to find out if you have the condition is to have your blood pressure checked, either by your GP or pharmacist or by using an at-home monitor. One of the best ways to prevent a high reading or to lower a high reading is to be conscious of what you’re eating, and eating healthily. Experts recommend, as a general rule, cutting down on the amount of salt in food and to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
But specific foods have also been found to have blood pressure-lowering properties.
Garlic is known for having a host of different health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.
A 2012 review noted a study of 87 people with high blood pressure found a reduction in blood pressure readings in those who consumed garlic compared to participants without any treatment.
As well as its natural form, garlic is available as supplements.
Studies carried out on human have found garlic supplements to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure.
In one study, 600 to 1,500mg of aged garlic extract was found to be just as effective as high blood pressure medication at reducing blood pressure over a 24-week period.
If high blood pressure is eft untreated, the arteries begin to thicken and harden, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Garlic has also been found to prevent hardening of the arteries.
A 2013 Iranian study found compounds in garlic, including allicin, can help prevent fatty deposits in arteries by reducing the among of fat in the blood and curbing cholesterol’s tendency to lay down fatty deposits in the arteries.
Holland & Barrett advises on the dosage of garlic to take to reap the benefits.
It says: “There is no reference nutrient intake (RNI) for garlic. However, it’s safe to consume at normal levels found in your food.
“If taken medicinally, one to two cloves of fresh garlic a day is safe.
“The European Medicines Agency recommends 900-1380mg of garlic powder per day for artery health, or 100-400mg a day for coughs and colds protection.”
But it adds the following groups should be careful of taking garlic supplements:
- People having surgery within seven days – there is a risk of bleeding after the operation
- Children and young people under the age of 18 years – this has not been proven safe
- Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding – garlic supplements have not been proven safe
- Anyone taking certain medicines, in particular anti-coagulation or anti-platelet medication – garlic supplements may affect how quickly your blood clots, so speak to your doctor before use
Alongside eating a healthy diet, it’s important to limit your alcohol intake, lose weight if you’re overweight, do regularly exercise, cut down on caffeine and stop smoking.