Used for thousands of years by many Mediterranean civilisations, both in cooking and as a traditional natural remedy, garlic is packed with beneficial properties (1).
In addition to being high in manganese, vitamin B6, phosphorus, iron, copper, selenium and vitamin C, it also contains several active ingredients, making it a natural remedy for many ailments (2).
In particular, it is its richness in organosulfur compounds which is responsible for the health benefits of this plant, especially S-allyl-cysteine, the compound most studied by researchers. Garlic also contains alliin, which is converted into allicin in the presence of an enzyme produced when a garlic clove is crushed or chopped. It’s this molecule which gives garlic its particular smell.
It also undergoes new conversions to produce other organosulfur compounds such as diallyl sulphide, diallyl disulphide and ajoene. Together, these compounds (including S-allyl-cysteine) are responsible for garlic’s ability to (3-6):
This traditional condiment also contains saponins which contribute to its cholesterol-lowering benefits and protective effects on the cardiovascular system. The plant also appears to contain specific proteins with cardioprotective effects.
The mechanisms behind garlic’s hypotensive effects are still unclear. It probably has a vasodilatory effect which helps to relax and expand blood vessels, and an antioxidant effect which helps protect blood vessels from oxidative stress-induced damage.
A number of studies have compared garlic’s effects with those of a placebo in patients with hypertension (7-9).
The results were clear: “supplementing with garlic extracts could represent an alternative to drugs or an effective complementary treatment for hypertension”, according to the authors of one Australian study.
While raw garlic appears to be more effective at lowering blood pressure, you can also benefit from its properties by eating it cooked.
Although alliin is destroyed by cooking, its derivatives,diallyl sulphide, diallyl disulphide and ajoene, survive cooking and dehydration.
To benefit from white garlic and reduce blood pressure naturally, you can therefore eat it raw, cooked, dehydrated, marinated in olive oil, in infusions or even as garlic extracts, etc.
Obtained via a specific fermentation process, black garlic has an even richer composition than its white counterpart, including significantly more S-allyl-cysteine, thus maximising its benefits (10).
Consuming this aged form of garlic is thus an even better natural option for lowering blood pressure than eating either cooked or raw ‘standard’ garlic.
The only contraindication associated with black garlic is to avoid consuming it before or after surgery because of its potential anti-coagulant effects.
Apart from this, you can take black garlic supplements (such as Organic ABG10+®, an organic supplement standardised to 0.1% S-allyl-cysteine) all year round, alongside a diet designed to lower hypertension, and regular exercise.
There are many other natural remedies you can use to lower blood pressure. Hypertension-targeting herbal teas and juices are both excellent options.
However, whether the ingredient is garlic or celery, which also has recognised hypotensive effects, the strong flavour of these foods is not to everyone’s taste. That’s why many people choose to take supplements in capsule form, containing standardised quantities of active ingredients, in order to obtain the benefits of these plant-source foods.
As well as taking a supplement, you could also follow the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) to maintain better control of your blood pressure (11).
Developed at the end of the 1990s following two large-scale studies, the DASH diet consists of:
It’s also worth noting that studies have shown foods high in potassium to also help lower blood pressure naturally: cocoa, bananas, sweet potatoes, artichokes, avocados, etc. are all good sources of potassium. Some excellent dietary habits to adopt!
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