heart healthy foods

Can Eating Garlic Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Eli Ben-yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-yehuda

On March 3, 2019

Our question of the week comes from Todd M in Rochester N.Y. Does eating garlic help lower your blood pressure? Actually yes it does.

Garlic has a wide range of well-documented effects, including helping to lower blood pressure. Studies showing a positive effect of garlic and garlic preparations are those that deliver a sufficient dosage of allicin. In double-blind studies with garlic, preparations provided a daily dose of at least 10 mg allicin. Blood pressure readings dropped with typical reductions of 11 mm Hg for the systolic and 5.0 in the diastolic. This occurred within a 1 to 3-month period. To get enough allicin, eat 1 to 4 cloves of fresh garlic a day. If you want to avoid garlic breath in public, add minced fresh garlic to your salad dressing in the evening at dinner.

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Why It Works!

All of the beneficial effects of garlic are attributed to its sulfur-containing compounds. Such as allicin, diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and others. Allicin is mainly responsible for the pungent odor of garlic. It is formed by the action of the enzyme alliinase on the compound allicin. The enzyme is activated by heat, oxygen, or water. This accounts for the fact that cooked garlic, odorless supplements, “aged garlic preparations,” and garlic oil products produce no strong an odor. Raw garlic provides powerful medicinal effects

Raw Garlic Or Dry Garlic?

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, when you crush, chop or chew raw fresh garlic, the enzyme called alliinase is released. This starts a series of reactions resulting in the formation of allicin. Raw fresh or dried garlic may provide you with the most allicin. The allicin potential decreases with age or heat-treatment of the garlic. Researchers say that due to the instability of allicin, forms of garlic other than fresh raw or dried garlic may have less allicin-forming potential. The instability of allicin is also the reason pure allicin is not available as a supplement.

What Is The Correct Dosage?

Researchers of a study published in 2013 in Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences divided individuals diagnosed with hypertension into groups, each with a different dosage of garlic. Some received 300, 600, 900, 1200 or 1500 milligrams of garlic per day. Some a placebo or blood pressure medication. They found that all the garlic dosages decreased blood pressure comparatively as much as the blood pressure medicine did. And that there was a greater reduction in blood pressure with the higher doses of garlic and with a longer duration of treatment. In the review in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, the authors found that most of the studies that showed garlic’s blood pressure-lowering effect used a dosage of 600 to 900 milligrams of garlic per day.

How Much Should I Eat?

You may be able to lower your blood pressure by consuming 1/3 to 1 1/2 grams of fresh raw or dried garlic daily. Since most garlic cloves are about 3 grams, this is equivalent to 1/10 to 1/2 a garlic clove daily. Your blood pressure may be lowered more if you eat more. Speak with your doctor and dietitian about making changes to your diet as consuming garlic in excess may be detrimental, especially if you are on certain medications.

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