Nearly five million in the UK are believed to have raised blood pressure, putting them at the perils of stroke and heart attack. Fortunately, the early impetus to make lifestyle changes can have a protective effect against such diseases – and diet is a good place to start. One superfood when added to your diet may have strong anti-hypertensive effects, which have been observed in the space of a few hours after intake.
Moringa Oleifera leaves, which are native to North India, produce a rich green powder packed with vitamin A, calcium, and vitamin C.
The food, sometimes found in smoothies and health bars, is rapidly gaining popularity among superfood enthusiasts as a trendy ingredient.
However, the plant has also garnered a lot of attention in medical circles, after a string of studies supported its use to lower hypertension.
In fact, mounting evidence shows Moringa could serve as an effective alternative medicine to treat high blood pressure.
Though the whole plant is concentrated with vitamins and minerals, it is the leaves that carry the most benefits.
Most studies to date have studied the effects of the plant’s leaves to determine the effect on hypertension.
In 2018, researchers behind one study observed “a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”
The researchers compared the effects of the natural plants to those seen after intake of medication.
They noted: “As the analysis was done by the survey many agreed that it is more effective than modern medicine.
“The use of Moringa leaf gave a constant change; that too in a short period of time while modern medicine does not give a constant change in blood pressure reading.
“Thus the Moringa leaf can provide the desired effect as a natural control measure for high blood pressure and can be regarded as alternative medicine.”
They explained that the shortcomings of modern medicine for blood pressure are down to the way they are prepared. They said: “[They are] made in such a way that only the needed phytochemical content is extracted and prepared for the medicine.”
“But when we intake the leaf as a whole many phytochemical contents present in it work together and make the action more effective,” the researchers continued.
One separate study measuring the effect of Moringa leaves on the body after consumption of salt also concluded the superfood was also successful in lowering blood pressure in such instances.
This time, researchers measured the effects of the Moringa leaves at regular intervals following intake.
They noted: “A significant difference was observed between diastolic blood pressure at baseline and two hours postprandial [after the meal].
“These findings in human subjects indicated the lowering effect of Moringa Oleifera leaves consumption on the 2 hours postprandial blood pressure and showed a postprandial lowering effect on both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure despite prior high consumptions of salt.”
While the plants have shown great promise at lowering blood pressure, researchers have warned that in some cases, it could cause too big a drop if taken alongside other drugs with similar effects.
According to the NHS, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher, with blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 40/90mmHg denoting a slight risk of developing hypertension.
Blood pressure that is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg is considered ideal.
The NHS advises that adults over 40 get their blood pressure at least once every five years.