Herbs and Spices May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Penn State investigators have found that foods with 6.5 grams, or about 1.3 teaspoons, were linked to reducing hypertension after 4 weeks.

Seasoning food generously with herbs and spices may help lower blood pressure (BP), results from a Penn State study show.

“Adding herbs and spices to your food is a great way to add flavor without adding extra sodium, sugar, or saturated fat,” Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutritional sciences at Evan Pugh University, said in a statement. “If you go a step further and add these seasonings to foods that are really good for you, like fruits and vegetables, you can potentially get even more health benefits by consuming that extra produce.”

Investigators found that seasoned foods with 6.5 grams, or about 1.3 teaspoons, of herbs and spices each day were linked to lower blood pressure after 4 weeks. They also found that after consuming a diet including a high dose of herbs and spices, individuals had lower systolic BP than following a diet with a medium dose.

Individuals also had a lower diastolic blood pressure after the diet with a high dose of herbs and spices than after a diet with a low dose.

Individuals can improve their BP by adding less salt to meals and replacing it with other seasonings, but it is not known whether herbs and spices could have other health benefits.

The controlled-feeding study included 71 individuals with risk factors for heart disease. Each consumed a different diet: low (0.5 grams daily), moderate (3.2 grams), and high (6.5 grams) in herbs and spices. They received the diets in a random order for 4 weeks, with a 2-week break between each.

Blood samples were drawn from individuals at the beginning of the study and after each diet period.

The 3 diets were based on an average American diet, but with 3 different doses of herbs and spices added.

The doses included a blend of 24 different herbs and spices, including basil, cinnamon, thyme, and turmeric, designed to stimulate the way individuals use different seasoning throughout the day.

“We didn’t decrease sodium, we didn’t increase fruits and vegetables, we just added herbs and spices. It begs the next question that if we did alter the diet in these ways, how much better would the results be?” Kris-Etherton said.

Investigators said that additional studies designed to incorporate herbs and spices into a healthy dietary pattern lower in added sugar, salt, and solid fats could help guide future dietary recommendations.

The findings of the study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Reference

Adding herbs and spices to meals may help lower blood pressure. EurekAlert. News release. November 8, 2021. Accessed November 9, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/934137