Hearty Information for the Healthy Minded

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You don’t have to cast a very wide net to find a person interested in either cholesterol health or supporting normal blood pressure.  In these studies on beta glucan and garlic, learn about some interesting potential for supporting your healthy heart.

Healthy Cholesterol

New study finds oat beta glucan most effective

Lower LDL and total cholesterol

Earlier studies found that oats lowered cholesterol, but doctors in this new review of placebo controlled studies from 1966 through 2013 discovered that a certain less-processed form of oats—oat beta glucan—was even more effective at lowering cholesterol.

Doctors said that denser, less-processed oat beta glucan is able to break away from foods during digestion and to form a viscous gel inside the small intestine, boosting its cholesterol-lowering effects compared to more refined oat products.

The study doses ranged from 3 to 12 grams of oat beta glucan per day and lasted up to 12 weeks. In doses of at least 3 grams per day, oat beta glucan reduced LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, twice as much—and reduced total cholesterol 50 percent more—than in previous studies that had not considered the amount of processing of the oat-based foods.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; December, 2014, 100:6, Published Online

Garlic Lowered Blood Pressure

Benefits especially in those with hypertension

All forms of the supplement are effective

In this review of 17 garlic studies, researchers analyzed the combined effects of garlic powder, aged garlic extract, and garlic oil supplements on blood pressure. Doses in the placebo-controlled studies ranged from 300 to 900 mg of garlic per day, providing 1.8 to 5.4 mg of allicin, the active compound in garlic doctors believe may be responsible for the blood pressure benefits.

Overall compared to placebo, those who took garlic supplements saw systolic and diastolic blood pressure decline by 3.75 and 3.39 mmHg, respectively. Looking at a subgroup of those with elevated blood pressure, systolic blood pressure declined by 4.4 mmHg on average.

Discussing their findings, doctors said it may be the antioxidants in garlic that counteract oxidative stress that damages blood vessels, or that garlic may help blood vessels relax and dilate, lowering blood pressure.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Hypertension; January, 2015, Published Online

Betsy’s Note: Garlic thins blood.  Also, garlic should not be substituted for actual blood pressure medicine and may even be contraindicated with blood pressure medicine in some cases.  This article is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Consult your healthcare provider.

Article copyright 2015 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.