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Skip the salt and use more of these herbs and spices instead to keep blood pressure in check.

Dietary habits can go a long way towards helping to keep your blood pressure in a healthier range. And one tasty way to keep your blood pressure under control may be found in a rather surprising place – your spice cabinet.

When you think about your spice cabinet, the first flavor enhancer that may come to mind is salt. But salt is one of the most detrimental things you can consume for blood pressure due to its high sodium content. However, the other bottles and jars sitting in that cabinet can have the opposite effect.

To lower blood pressure, skip the salt as much as possible and instead choose some of these tasty herbs and spices. They may help keep your blood pressure down while kicking up the flavor of your favorite meals.
  • Ginger – This spice has long been a staple in alternative medicine and has been touted for offering various medicinal benefits, from calming nausea to fighting germs. Another impressive health benefit of ginger is that it may also help lower blood pressure. One study found that people who consumed the most ginger had the lowest risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Cardamom – Like ginger, cardamom’s health benefits may be expansive. From aiding in digestion and freshening breath to balancing blood sugar and improving circulation, cardamom may do more than just provide a unique flavor to food. It may also help reduce blood pressure, although more research is needed on the subject.
  • Cinnamon – This warm and aromatic spice may help dilate and relax blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure. Although the exact cause-and-effect relationship isn’t fully understood, a review of studies showed that participants who consumed cinnamon lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Garlic – There are many heart-healthy compounds in garlic, such as allicin, that help relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. This may cause it to have similar effects as some blood pressure medications, although more research is needed.

Limited research has been done on humans showing the effects of most herbs and spices on blood pressure. However, some animal studies suggest that these herbs and spices, as well as others, such as basil, parsley, thyme and celery seed, may have a positive effect on blood pressure. Even without loads of scientific research backing their benefits, using herbs and spices to flavor food instead of salt can provide significant benefits to blood pressure control.

Sodium from table salt is a known dietary culprit that raises blood pressure. Although much of the sodium found in the American diet comes from prepared, packaged and restaurant foods, it also comes from the salt we use when cooking and what we sprinkle at the table. By experimenting with a variety of flavorful herbs and spices, we can become less reliant on salt to make our food taste great – and that’s a big step we can take to help improve our blood pressure. If you’re looking to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, here are some flavorful low-sodium recipes to try.

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Date Last Reviewed: March 13, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RDN, CLT

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