New research into the disease fighting properties of everyday foods has turned up fresh evidence about the health benefits of Garlic. Researchers from the University of Adelaide have found that an extract from the humble clove of garlic can help treat high blood pressure. The finding was reported in the latest edition of the scientific journal Maturitas.
However before you go and start adding garlic pods to your food or consuming it raw the researchers caution that according to their studies they did not observe similar health benefits from garlic that was consumed raw or cooked in meals. The benefits were only observed in an extract from aged garlic.
The extensive studies were carried out over a time period of twelve weeks and involved fifty test subjects with systolic blood pressure levels at or above 140. Researchers then gave some members of the group a placebo and the rest an extract of aged garlic in capsule form. The group that got the garlic extract displayed blood pressure level over 10 mm Hg lower than the blood pressures displayed by the control group that were given placebos.
Researchers were quick to point out the significance of this drop in blood pressure because they claim that a drop in systolic blood pressure of as little as 5 mm Hg can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as twenty percent.
Dr. Karin Reid, who led the researchers at the University of Adelaide said that garlic is believed by scientists to have an antihypertensive effect on the human body because it stimulates the production of naturally occurring chemicals in the body like Nitric Oxide and Hydrogen Sulphide that relax blood vessels and ease blood flow.
The research is as important in Australia as in other countries where a large percent of the population suffers from heart disease according to Dr. Reid because up to one in three adults in Australia are hypertensive or suffer from high blood pressure, a leading risk indicator of heart disease. Only half of these people actually receive medication to control their blood pressure and more alarmingly a further half of these patients are not receiving adequate treatments for their condition.
These findings are of great importance world over because the epidemic of heart disease is affecting developing countries as much as developed countries as sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy foods become more widespread. This in conjunction with the high stress lifestyles that most people lead has made high blood pressure a widely prevalent issue that goes largely undetected and therefore untreated. This study shows that more research into the use of garlic to fight hypertension needs to be undertaken.
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