By Brenda Morales
High blood pressure is an epidemic that currently affects one in every three American adults. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because it is largely symptomless, which is why it is so important to have your blood pressure regularly. If you or your loved ones suffer from high blood pressure, you should schedule a visit to see Dr. Cynthia, considered by her patients to be one of the best holistic cardiologists in Los Angeles.
There are many ways to treat high blood pressure, including lifestyle changes and/or medications. Dr. Cynthia strongly believes in helping her patients make behavioral lifestyle changes to improve their overall health before prescribing excessive amounts of medications. To reduce blood pressure, Dr. Cynthia recommends an anti-inflammatory diet, limiting sodium intake, increasing physical activity, weight loss, decreasing alcohol intake and incorporating traditional treatments, such as spices with medicinal benefits.
As a way to manage your blood pressure, herbs and spices are a fantastic way to increase the medicinal value of your foods. Studies show that some common spices can help protect from heart disease and the deterioration brought about by aging. Researchers have discovered a connection between the phenol content of certain herbs and spices and their capacity to prevent glycation and formation of AGE compounds that are responsible for premature aging and heart disease. Below are some herbs and spices that can help lower your blood pressure:
- Garlic – Garlic contains allicin, a substance which has antibacterial, antioxidant, lipid lowering and anti-hypertensive properties. Garlic has the ability to lower your blood pressure by helping your blood vessels to relax and dilate, which allows blood flow more freely in the body. Studies have proven that fresh garlic has more potent heart-protective properties than processed garlic. The recommended intake is four cloves of garlic (about 4 grams) a day to notice reduce blood pressure readings. You can add fresh garlic to a number of your favorite recipes. And if you simply can’t eat it or don’t like the taste of garlic, try supplement form of 500 mg daily.
- Cardamom – Cardamom is a seasoning that comes from India and is often used in the foods of South Asia. A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Biochemistry & Biophysics analyzed the health effects of cardamom and found that participants given powdered cardamom daily for several months saw significant reductions in their blood pressure. You can include cardamom seeds or powder in spice rubs, in soups and stews, and even in baked goods for a special flavor and a positive health benefit.
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon not only prevents heart disease, it can help treat diabetes. Consuming ¼ tsp. to 1 tsp. of cinnamon every day has been shown to lower blood pressure in patients with diabetes. Include more cinnamon in your diet by sprinkling it on your breakfast oats and in your coffee, for dinner try adding cinnamon to stir-fries, curries, and stews.
- Curcumin – You may not have heard of curcumin before, but you have probably heard of turmeric, the spice that is best known as an ingredient in Indian curry and yellow mustard. Turmeric is a natural blood pressure reducer and cardiovascular spice that has been used for years. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that help lower blood pressure by lowering the excess platelet aggregation that occurs in sticky, clot-forming blood. Try cooking with turmeric or if you wish to take curcumin as a nutritional supplement, try 500 mg daily, but do not take if you have gallbladder disease, gallstones, and kidney stones.
- Ginger – Ginger may help control blood pressure, as it has been shown to improve blood circulation and relax the muscles surrounding blood vessels. Commonly used in Asian foods, ginger is a very versatile ingredient. Chop, mince, or grate fresh ginger into stir-fries, soups, and noodle or vegetable dishes, or add it to desserts or tea for a refreshing taste.
- Cayenne Pepper – The key compound in cayenne pepper is a substance called capsaicin, which is the main active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter “hot creams” for joint and muscle pain. Capsaicin creates the sensation of heat through a thermogenic effect that raises body temperature and boosts circulation in the area where it’s applied. It is also a natural blood pressure reducer and cardiovascular health supplement. Add cayenne pepper in cooking your meals once or twice a week to help lower your blood pressure.
Taking advantage of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of medicinal spices and herbs is an excellent way to boost your overall health and use natural forms of lowering blood pressure. Mix these herbs and spices with your soups, salads, fish and meat and vegetable dishes. It’s a healthier and cheaper alternative to keeping bottles of prescription drugs and synthetic supplements.
Due to its lack of symptoms, high blood pressure can inflict damage before you are even aware you have it, so don’t neglect regular blood pressure screenings. Sometimes treating elevated blood pressure involves medications, therefore talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you. It’s also important to discuss any herbs or supplements with your doctor before taking any. Additionally, don’t stop taking any prescribed medications without speaking with your healthcare provider. If you are currently looking for a cardiologist, consider seeing Dr. Cynthia, best cardiologist in Los Angeles.
For more information on an integrative holistic approach to improve your overall health, visit us on line at DrCynthia.com or call our office at 818-842-1410.
Indian Journal of Biochemistry & Biophysics. “Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of Cardamom.” Vol 46, December 2009, pp 503-506