TURMERIC/CURCUMIN AND BLOOD PRESSURE
What is high blood pressure?
The high pressure of the blood on the arteries and its wall is simply known as a high blood pressure or hypertension.
The normal range of blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. It has two components, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.
Systolic pressure (upper reading) is when the heart contracts and diastolic pressure (lower reading) is when the heart relaxes, therefore systolic and diastolic is the pressure within the arteries of the heart and it is measured in millimetres of mercury or mmHg.
120/80 mmHg is the normal blood pressure, but the B.P of 140/90 mmHg or more than this range is known as high blood pressure.
Risk factors linked with high blood pressure:
Till now there is no exact cause of high blood pressure, there may be some lifestyle habits that may cause high blood pressure such as:
• high salt intake
• Sedentary life
• Being overweight or obese
• Consuming alcohol in excess
• High cholesterol
• Stress and smoke
Treatment includes lifestyle changes, reduce salt intake, changing bad eating habits, increasing physical activity and certain medications.
Other crucial risk factors that are beyond control are:
• Races (being South Asian communities and African Caribbean)
• Old age
• Family history
If high blood pressure left unattended, it may lead to kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.
How Turmeric/Curcumin prevents high blood pressure?
Herbs and spices show promising results in the management of high blood pressure, various studies show that herbs and spices have a protective effect on the heart health and the blood vessels too; especially polyphenols prevents the inflammation and the premature aging of the blood vessels and the arteries. Apart of diet, medication, and exercise to control the hypertension, turmeric is another important compound that brings a natural treatment to manage the high blood pressure; it is a most valued and highly ranked spice that has high medicinal value, used to correct number of ailments also turned out to be useful in blood pressure management.
Turmeric and all its polyphenols may help in many ways:
• Curcumin a rich source of polyphenols that gives a yellow colour to the turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compound that prevents excess platelet aggregation in the blood vessels and the arteries, thus works as a natural blood pressure regulator.
• Turmeric including all its active polyphenols may inhibit Renin-angiotensin converting (ACE) enzymes, it is a specific enzyme needed to generate angiotensin II, which plays an important role in sympathetic stimulation and narrowing the blood vessels that raise blood pressure, thus inhibiting this enzyme may relax and widen the blood vessels thereby lowering the blood pressure. Curcumin regulates the activity of Renin-angiotensin enzyme system and prevent blood vessel constriction.
• Plaque accumulation in the arteries due to the free radicals may narrow the blood vessels, hence turmeric not only lowers the blood pressure, it also prevents plaque formation in the arteries by combating the free radicals and protects them as well. Hence, in this way curcumin improves the ailing condition of blood vessels and improves the functions too, that may normalize the blood pressure and eases blood flow in the blood vessels and towards the heart.
• Inner lining of the arteries may get damaged due to the metabolic syndrome or diabetes that may render the blood vessels stiff and hard so this may also lead to the hypertension. It is already known that turmeric or curcumin improves the level of cholesterol, reduces cardiovascular complications and toxicity; reverse the aging of the arteries along with diabetes. All these will help in easing and normalizing the blood pressure.
• Inflammation in blood vessels, high blood sugar level, high cholesterol and high lipid level are some of the risk factor in hypertension. From various studies, it has been proved that curcumin can reduce these elevated levels and prevent any kind of damage in the arterial wall thereby indirectly helps in blood pressure alleviation.
• Anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties help to combat high blood pressure in many ways, especially anti-inflammatory property of turmeric and its polyphenols play an important role in blood pressure, various research shows that inflammation or the inflammatory disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney or liver disease and many more may cause stiffness and inflammation in the arteries and associated blood vessels, thereby damaging and narrowing the blood flow pathway and may raise the blood pressure, here turmeric or curcumin works by preventing the inflammation and at the same time also heal them by just adding up high anti-oxidants content at the required site.
• Apart from maintaining normal blood pressure, turmeric and its active components also repair and heal the already damaged blood vessels, veins and the arteries in the hypertensive people, since continuous high B.P may deteriorate and hamper the blood flow that may cause other health hazards if left untreated.