High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, describes the force of blood pushing against your artery walls. This force naturally fluctuates throughout the day, but if you have high blood pressure the force is moving at a destructive pace. There are no obvious signs that this process is happening, which is why high blood pressure is commonly referred to as “the silent killer”.
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The high pressure pushing against your artery walls causes them to become narrow and harden.
This restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, hiking your risk of having a heart attack.
It is therefore imperative that you keep the condition in check.
Fortunately, there are hard and fast ways to reduce your blood pressure.
Diet is one of the most reliable ways and evidence singles out specific items for their blood pressure-lowering benefits.
One such item is garlic, a staple ingredient which has been shown to lower blood pressure.
One review highlighted a study of 87 people with high blood pressure that found a diastolic reduction of 6mm Hg and a systolic reduction of 12mm Hg in those who consumed garlic, compared to people without any treatment,
Diastolic and systolic are the two numbers used to measure blood pressure.
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Systolic blood pressure (the first number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
Diastolic blood pressure (the second number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
According to Blood Pressure UK, a reduction in systolic blood pressure is particularly important because it gives the best indicator of your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
According to another study, a time-released (administered in small amounts over time) garlic extract preparation may have a greater effect on blood pressure than regular garlic powder tablets.
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How does garlic lower blood pressure?
Some research suggests that garlic increases the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps the smooth muscles to relax and the blood vessels to dilate.
These changes have been shown to reduce hypertension.
General dietary tips to lower high blood pressure
One of the most effective ways to lower your blood pressure is to drastically cut back on your salt intake.
This is because the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
According to the NHS, you should aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.
“Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure,” explains the health site.
The health body says aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
“Adults should do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week,” it adds.
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