10 Spices and Herbs that Lower Blood Pressure
Healthy eating has a bland reputation. Not that it’s completely unearned. We’ve all suffered through a flavorless, heart-healthy meal. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. There’s a whole world of heart-healthy flavor out there. All it takes to discover it is a quick trip to your spice cabinet (or your local grocer).
To get you started on your journey to healthy eating with some spice, here are ten herbs and spices that will keep you from reaching for the salt:
Odds are cinnamon has you thinking sweet thoughts, but this spice has a lot more versatility. This warming spice is good at getting your blood vessels to chill and improve blood flow, which is a good thing for your blood pressure and overall heart health.
This versatile spice has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. A natural calcium channel blocker, ginger is a great way to naturally reduce your blood pressure.
Rounding out our trilogy of classic, sweet and savory holiday spices is possibly the most versatile of them all. Nutmeg is packed with antioxidants and has a slew of anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to help reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.
Another sweet and savory option you may not be as familiar with is cardamom. This antioxidant-rich spice is still relatively new in the world of scientific studies. However, early findings are promising, and show that it has the potential to safely reduce blood pressure through its diuretic properties.
In addition to being something we could all use more of, thyme (the herb) is really good for your heart. Studies have shown thyme can reduce blood sugar and increase blood flow. Both of which are good for your heart. Also, it contains compounds which have been shown to reduce blood pressure.
This common herb is anything but common when it comes to heart health. Sweet basil can help to relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. It may also have calcium channel blocker properties.
Not only is it good for keeping vampires at a distance, garlic also boasts properties that ward off hypertension and heart disease. In fact, studies have found that garlic can have a similar effect to some blood pressure medications.
After all that garlic talk, you (and anyone in your vicinity) will be happy to hear that mint also has some heart health benefits. This antioxidant-rich leaf helps protect your cells from damage and reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, it comes in tea form, making it a fairly easy addition to your daily routine.
If you like your spice to be literal and with a side of sweat, cayenne pepper is a good way to get your blood flowing (literally). This pantry staple is known for increasing blood flow by relaxing your blood vessels. And if cayenne isn’t your tastebud burner of choice, capsaicin (what gives all peppers their kick), has been shown to help reduce blood pressure.
This spice may not sound familiar, but if you’ve every enjoyed curry you’ve definitely enjoyed the health benefits of turmeric. Studies have shown promising results when it comes to its blood pressure reducing properties, when taken regularly.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of heart-healthy flavor options. Your only limits are the contents of your pantry and your own culinary creativity.
As is the case with any major dietary changes, you should speak with your doctor first. That’s especially true for those already taking heart medications, as some spices have been shown to interact with these medications. A conversation with your doctor can help you to safely choose the best way to add some extra flavor to your heart-healthy diet.