Wellness

Herbs and spices to lower blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Nutrition advice on how to lower blood pressure often includes using herbs and spices rather than salt to season meals. However, experts didn’t know much about the health benefits of herbs and spices. A recent randomized controlled trial suggests that a diet high in herbs and spices may reduce blood pressure in people at risk for cardiovascular disease.

The better known benefits of spices

Untreated hypertension increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, vision loss, and blood vessel damage. Dietary advice for lowering blood pressure includes reducing salt intake. It is therefore better to use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor food. Experts know less about the health effects of herbs and spices than about salt. However, some studies have shown that herbs and spices can reduce lipemia, excess blood lipids, hyperglycemia, and oxidative stress.

To take this a step further, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) recently conducted a randomized controlled trial to study the effect of long-term consumption of herbs and spices on disease risk factors. cardiovascular. They found that a higher level of herbs and spices in food reduced blood pressure measured over 24 hours. These results are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers already knew the effects of many lifestyle factors, especially dietary factors, which can raise blood pressure, such as sodium, alcohol, and caffeine and others that can lower it, such as potassium. , magnesium and calcium, weight loss, physical activity and some vitamins, including folate and vitamin D when intake is low, but the hypotensive effects of herbs and spices are new. When it comes to herbs and spices, there have been no clinical trials showing benefits in lowering blood pressure until this study.

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Three different diets with herbs and spices

A total of 71 participants between the ages of 30 and 75 joined the study. All participants had one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease and were overweight or obese. After participants fasted for 12 hours, researchers conducted baseline assessments. These included height, weight, waist circumference, a fasting blood sample and a vascular test. Vascular tests included measurements of central and peripheral blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Participants also wore a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. The researchers then randomly assigned the participants to one of three groups.

Each group had to follow one of three diets: a low-spicy diet, a moderately-spicy diet, or a high-spicy diet. These diets called for daily consumption of 0.5 grams, 3.3 grams, and 6.6 grams of herbs and spices, respectively. The goal was to incorporate herbs and spices into a diet representative of the average Western diet. Additional herbs and spices were cinnamon, turmeric and oregano. Participants followed their respective diets for 4 weeks, with a 2-week break in between. At the end of each dieting period, participants returned for follow-up assessments. A total of 63 people completed the study.

Improved blood pressure

The study showed that the high-spice diet tended to improve 24-hour blood pressure measurements, compared to the medium and low-spice diets. The researchers observed no effect of the diets on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, clinically measured blood pressure, blood glucose markers, vascular function, or oxidative stress. However, they claim that 24-hour blood pressure measurements are a better predictor of cardiovascular death than clinically measured blood pressure.

The authors believe the study may have been too short for vascular remodeling to occur, which may explain why they did not find an effect on arterial stiffness.
They also note that doses of herbs and spices might not be enough to reverse the metabolic effects of an unhealthy basal diet. They therefore cannot recommend increasing the intake of herbs and spices only as part of a poor quality diet to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Also, since each day of the menu had different amounts of the 24 herbs and spices, the exposure was not constant. As herbs and spices do not stay in the body very long, the foods eaten on the days closest to the tests may have influenced the results more strongly.

Spices are good but eating better is better against tension

This study suggests that there may be a potential benefit in terms of lowering blood pressure from including more herbs and spices in our diets. However, the observed effects were small for all levels of consumption. Although the authors suggest that there is some benefit to including herbs and spices in a suboptimal diet, it is clear that the goal, from a public health perspective, must be to improve eating habits in accordance to achieve a healthy diet and grape benefit even more from the contribution of herbs and spices.

The authors indeed conclude that if the goal of this study was to examine the average Western diet, we need major changes in average eating patterns to make our eating habits healthier and more sustainable. While certain foods or ingredients may provide a slight benefit on their own, we need to encourage a shift towards healthier eating overall.

Source

Herbs and spices at a relatively high culinary dosage improves 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure in adults at risk of cardiometabolic diseases: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding study

[HighProtein-Foods.com]

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