The connection between garlic and blood pressure relates to the potential of garlic to help lower blood pressure. Several studies indicate that garlic has a few different properties that may both directly and indirectly help reduce high blood pressure. Garlic may indirectly help reduce blood pressure by preventing blood clots because excess blood clotting often leads to high blood pressure. Onions, which are closely related to garlic, might also offer these benefits.
Garlic and onions may keep the platelets in the blood from sticking together as quickly. This could be especially beneficial in very high-fat meals. When the blood platelets malfunction and begin to coagulate, blood clots can form. These clots can lead to strokes and heart attacks. There is no guarantee that including garlic and onions in high-fat meals will reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, but it may not be a bad idea for a person who eats lots of fatty foods to include these ingredients when possible.
The reasons behind the connection between garlic and blood pressure lowering may directly relate to the fact that garlic contains selenium and a chemical compound called allicin. Selenium has been known to possibly lower the blood pressure and prevent blood clotting. Allicin may also help prevent blood clotting. In general, garlic acts as a blood thinner in much the same way as medicines containing aspirin. Many people who have high blood pressure are advised by their doctors to take aspirin regularly.
Even though there are many benefits related to garlic and blood pressure lowering, caution should be exercised before a person adds large amounts of garlic to his or her diet. Garlic does act as a blood thinner, and this could be dangerous when taken regularly in addition to aspirin. Additionally, a person on prescription blood thinners may need to be careful of how much garlic he or she consumes. It is not a good idea for the blood to become too thin, because it could result in excessive bleeding.
People who are interested in garlic and blood pressure–lowering benefits but hesitate to take it because of the taste can use supplements instead. Most health food stores sell garlic in supplement or capsule form. It is also possible to purchase garlic supplements online. People with high blood pressure should normally seek a doctor's advice before taking any dietary supplement. These supplements are not necessarily safe even though they are normally all natural, and drug or allergic reactions may be a concern.