Nature’s improbable blood pressure remedies.

A bit of a digging into natural foods that help lower high blood pressure brings surprising results. It seems that a significant number of people have discovered that drinking a weird concoction of eggplant and distilled water lowers blood pressure.

While the recipe may not sound all that mouth-watering and while it hasn’t been clinically tested, scientists who investigated the potion discovered that the skin of eggplants contains nasunin —a potent antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals. Besides being an excellent anti-aging phytonutrient, nasunin has antiangiogenic properties, which help fight cancer by restricting the growth of new blood vessels and help control hypertension by keeping blood vessels clear and relaxed. Other tests have found that eggplant contains ingredients that affect ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) — the same enzyme blocked by popular blood pressure drugs such as captopril, lisinopril and ramipril.

Another surprise considered a power food – or rather herb – for high blood pressure is garlic. Besides its potent aroma, garlic is said to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thin the blood when it needs it, reduce fatty deposits and lower the tendency of blood clots to form. According to a recent study by nutritionist Dr. Pamela Mason, published in the Complete Nutrition journal, garlic could help cut blood pressure by 10 percent if taken in the form of tablets — which also means no bad breath.

The review of 21 human studies found that “supplements of dried garlic containing a guaranteed dose of the active ingredient allicin, consistently led to reductions in blood pressure. Although allicin is produced when raw garlic is crushed or chewed, much of it is destroyed during cooking.”

Last, but certainly not least is Hawthorn. The leaves, berries, and flowers of this wonder-plant are used to make medicine for everything from heart disease to high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and high cholesterol. Some people even use it for indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It is also used to reduce anxiety, as a sedative, to increase urine output, for menstrual problems, and even to treat tapeworm and frostbite! It is so potent that it may interact with other medication. How does it do all of the above? Hawthorn contains proanthocyanidin — flavanols that are believed to keep arteries flexible, increase small vessel circulation, and reduce blood pressure. Hawthorn can help improve the amount of blood pumped out of the heart during contractions, widen the blood vessels, and increase the transmission of nerve signals.

If anyone can come up with an edible recipe that combines the above ingredients, they might be onto the next cure for hypertension.

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