High blood pressure is one of the seven biggest contributors to our overall risk profile for the # 1 cause of death in the United States: heart disease.
You probably know the tips of eating less sodium and more potassium if you’re looking for the best blood pressure-lowering diet, but salt isn’t the only flavor element that can affect your ticker. It turns out, dipping the spices in your food can also help keep your BP in check. According to a September 2021 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate more herbs and spices – especially cinnamon, turmeric and oregano – recorded lower blood pressure readings 24 hours later.
Before we dive into the details, it’s worth taking this with a small grain of salt, as only 71 participants between the ages of 30 and 75 participated in the study. However, the limited sample size may inspire future research on this fairly new scientific area of interest.
Each of the 71 individuals had at least one risk factor for heart disease, and fell into the “overweight” or “obesity” category according to the body mass index (BMI). After fasting for 12 hours, participants were measured for their blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference, fasting blood sugar, and arterial flexibility. They then wore blood pressure monitors for the next 24 hours.
The 71 participants were randomly separated into three groups:
Low-spice diet (0.5 grams per day)
Moderately spicy diet (3.3 grams per day)
High-spice diet (6.6 grams per day)
They were told to then hit their quota of spice content daily using herbs and spices typical in many American diets, with a big focus especially on three – cinnamon, turmeric and oregano – that scientists have learned from previous research reviews and metaphysics. – tests that may be related to heart health.
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They followed their diet for 4 weeks, took a 2-week break, then tried another spicy diet. (So someone can start in the high-spice category, pause for 2 weeks and eat as usual, then try the low-spice diet.) At the end of each 4-week duration, they completed following assessments.
Of the 63 people who completed all spice trials, the researchers determined that the high-spice diet resulted in healthier 24-hour blood pressure readings (a proven prediction of cardiovascular mortality risk) than the moderate and low-dose versions. Cholesterol, blood sugar, arterial function and other categories have not changed.
“The blood pressure-lowering effects of herbs and spices in a mid-western diet were surprising to me. We. [already know] about the effects of many lifestyle factors, especially dietary factors that can increase blood pressure — such as sodium, alcohol, and caffeine — and others that can lower blood pressure, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, weight loss, physical activity, and certain vitamins. , including folate and vitamin D when consumption is low, ”says Penny Kris-Etherton, one of the study’s lead authors. Medical News Today. “But the blood pressure-lowering effects of herbs and spices are new! As for herbs and spices, there has been no clinical trial showing benefits of blood pressure lowering until our study.” (ICYMI, having high blood pressure can accelerate cognitive decline – here are 4 ways to combat both, according to doctors.)
The short duration and limited scale of this study leaves room for research to build on the required dose, to monitor other dietary changes, and to ensure consistent herb and spice exposure throughout the study.
Related: 5 Tricky Reasons Your Blood Pressure Is High, According To A Dietitian
“It will be important to evaluate the effects of individual spices on blood pressure and understand the mechanism[s] by which everyone lowers blood pressure, ”Kris-Etherton continues to do Medical News Today. “It would also be interesting to assess the effects of herbs and spices on the microbiome and assess whether the effects of herbs and spices on [blood pressure] are modulated by any changes in the intestinal microbiome. Beyond clinical trial research, studies are needed to evaluate effective educational programs that teach use of herbs and spices in a healthy diet pattern that is lower in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar on diet quality and clinical endpoints as risk factors for chronic diseases. . “
Until we know more, it certainly can’t hurt to start infusing more herbs and spices, especially cinnamon, turmeric and oregano (which can also offer anti-inflammatory and blood sugar benefits), into your daily diet.
“It’s important to note that while the goal of this study was to look at the average American diet, we need major changes in average dietary patterns to make our eating habits healthier and more sustainable. While certain foods or ingredients may have little benefit. we need to encourage a shift towards healthier eating across the board, ”adds Simon Steenson, Ph.D., a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation.
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