Find out whether adding spices to your meals can help lower blood pressure and improve overall health. Learn which spices are helpful for high BP management.
- Some spices have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to lower blood pressure.
- Adding spices to your meals may also help you reduce your salt intake, which is a major contributor to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
- Incorporating spices into your meals can add flavor and interest to your diet, which can help you stick to a healthy eating plan.
A significant risk factor for stroke, heart disease and several other health issues is high blood pressure or hypertension.
While medication can be effective in lowering blood pressure, making some lifestyle changes, such as incorporating a variety of spices into your meals, can also help to bring down your numbers.
This article will focus on how spices play a role in managing your blood pressure and will also discuss some of them for your consideration.
There is evidence that incorporating a variety of spices into your meals may help to lower blood pressure.
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who added more spices, like cinnamon, turmeric, and oregano, to their meals had lower blood pressure readings 24 hours later.
In addition to their potential effect on blood pressure, spices have a number of other health benefits, including lowering blood sugar and boosting immunity.
Spices play a myriad of functions in ensuring that your blood flow stays within normal range. Here’s how:
Some spices contain antioxidants, which can help to neutralize harmful substances called free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to inflammation.
Chronic inflammation has been associated with the development of hypertension, so reducing inflammation may help to lower blood pressure.
Spices, such as turmeric and ginger, contain compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds may help to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory compounds in the body or by reducing inflammation at the cellular level.
Insulin resistance, a condition wherein the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, is a risk factor for hypertension. Some spices, such as cinnamon and turmeric, have been shown to affect insulin sensitivity positively.
Cinnamon has been shown to better insulin sensitivity by increasing glucose uptake by cells, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes.
Turmeric too a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, potentially by reducing inflammation and improving the function of insulin-producing cells (beta-cells) in the pancreas.
Sodium is a mineral present in many foods and is known to contribute to high blood pressure. When we consume too much sodium, it can cause our bodies to retain fluid, which in turn can increase blood pressure.
However, spices can be a tasty and convenient way to flavor your meals without increasing your sodium intake. Some also have a naturally salty taste that can help to satisfy the craving for salt.
For example, celery seeds, often used in soups and stews, have a naturally salty flavor that can help reduce the need for added salt.
Other spices, such as garlic and onion powder, have a natural saltiness that can help to reduce the need for added salt in recipes.
Generally, home remedies for high blood pressure include five spices. These are also associated with significant blood pressure-lowering effects:
Garlic lowers blood pressure with allicin, a compound that helps to relax blood vessels.
Additionally, garlic may help reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for hypertension.
Cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity, which may help to lower blood pressure in individuals with diabetes or at risk for diabetes.
This spice is particularly useful in lowering uncontrolled systolic blood pressure (SBP).
Turmeric contains curcumin, an active compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory effects that may help to lower blood pressure by reducing inflammation in the body.
There is some evidence that taking this spice for an extended period may lower systolic blood pressure (SBP), but further research is needed to confirm this.
Ginger may help to lower blood pressure by blocking calcium channels and widening (dilating) blood vessels.
These actions may work together to reduce blood pressure naturally.
Fenugreek seeds and leaves are a good source of soluble fiber, which may help to lower cholesterol levels. High-fiber diets have been associated with stable blood pressure levels.
Additionally, fenugreek seeds and leaves contain low amounts of sodium, which is a factor that can contribute to high blood pressure.
Additionally, we have an article on the “Best Foods, Herbs, and Spices to Lower Blood Pressure” that you may be interested in reading.
Tips For Adding More Spices To Your Meals
If you are interested in incorporating more spices into your meals to help lower blood pressure, here are some tips to get started:
Many spices are available, each with its unique flavor profile. Try experimenting with different combinations to find what you like best.
Try adding a blend of spices to roasted vegetables or adding a pinch of spice to a smoothie for a bit of extra flavor.
Spices can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. For example, add a pinch of cinnamon to oatmeal or add cumin to add depth to a tomato sauce.
Both dried and fresh spices can be used in cooking. Dried spices tend to have a more concentrated flavor and can be stored for extended periods.
On the other hand, fresh spices tend to have a more vibrant flavor and are typically used in smaller amounts.
When using spices for the first time, it’s a good idea to start with a small amount and gradually increase as desired.
This will allow you to gauge your tolerance for the spice and help you determine the right amount for your taste preferences.
Incorporating certain spices into your meals may help to lower blood pressure. Ginger, fenugreek, and garlic have all been shown to have blood pressure-lowering properties. These spices can be easily added to various dishes, making it easy to incorporate them into your diet.
While more research is required to understand the mechanisms behind these effects fully, adding these spices to your meals is a simple and tasty way to support healthy blood pressure levels potentially.
Petersen Kristina S, et. al., 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 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 114, Issue 6, December 2021, Pages 1936–1948, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab291
Zhang Yu, et. al., “Association between spicy foods consumption and cardiovascular disease risk factors: Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study” BMC Public Health. 2022; 22: 1278. Published online 2022 Jun 30. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-13697-6
Wainford Richard David “How to reduce dietary salt intake: Just add spice?” Hypertension. 2017 Dec; 70(6): 1087–1088. Published online 2017 Oct 31. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.117.10025
Vasanthi Hannah R et.al., “Indian Spices for Healthy Heart – An Overview” Curr Cardiol Rev. 2010 Nov; 6(4): 274–279. doi: 10.2174/157340310793566172