Garlic and high blood pressure

You might think the only thing garlic and high blood pressure have in common is a hit TV show about sexy vampires. But you’d be wrong.

Garlic has been a well known heart health remedy for a while now. And a new study out of Australia only adds more weight to this aromatic onion’s roster of cardiovascular benefits.

Researchers split 79 patients with uncontrollable hypertension into four groups. Each group received either a placebo pill, or between one and four capsules of aged garlic extract daily.

The researchers assessed each subject’s blood pressure at four weeks, and again at weeks eight and 12.

By the end of the trial, results showed that subjects taking two capsules–or 480 mg–of aged garlic extract benefited the most. In fact, this middle group saw significant drops in systolic blood pressure, averaging around 12 mgHg.

Just to put this improvement into perspective, every 10 mgHg drop in blood pressure can cut cardiovascular risk by as much as 40 percent.

Of course, it goes without saying that aged garlic extract–which contains standardized amounts of the antioxidant s-allylcysteine–is a lot more potent than its counterpart in the kitchen.

But cooking with garlic whenever you can is still a delicious way to combat high blood pressure. Just be sure to keep a pack of breath mints handy.

“Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jan;67(1):64-70.