KEY POINTS

  • Lowering high blood pressure is possible if you eat the right kinds of foods
  • Legumes are among those that health experts recommend
  • One type of legume stands out from all the rest 

When the force of blood that pushes against your artery walls is constantly high, this leads to the development of high blood pressure. Although such an occurrence may appear harmless, steady high blood pressure can cause the blood-transporting arteries to become narrow and lose their stretchiness.

If this happens, blood flow to the heart may be restricted, starving the organ of the all-important oxygen. All of these occurrences can trigger a heart attack. This is why it is very important to take preventive measures that will help normalize your blood pressure and keep it under control.

Consuming a healthy and balanced diet plays a major role in lowering blood pressure. Legumes are always present in such a diet.

The legume family comprises plants that produce seed-bearing pods. Typical legumes are chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, peas, and peanuts. These legumes have long been touted for their ability to provide a host of health benefits. When it comes to lowering blood pressure, however, certain legumes rise above the rest.

Legumes That Lower Blood Pressure

Studies show that garden peas have shown great promise in dealing with high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease, which is a high blood pressure complication. High blood pressure causes a lot of strain on the kidneys’ small blood vessels, leading to the organ’s inability to function properly. garden peas to fight blood pressure garden peas to fight blood pressure Photo: balouriarajesh - Pixabay

A study presented during the American Chemical Society's 237th National Meeting showed a protein in the yellow garden pea, a staple of Indian dishes is responsible for the benefit. Dr. Rotimi Aluko, Ph.D. and Dr. Harold Aukema were able to extract from the yellow garden pea and purify a blend of small proteins called pea protein hydrolysate. Dr. Aluko is a food chemist based at the University of Manitoba and is the lead author of the study. Dr. Aukema is a professor of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, also at the same university.

The researchers then administered small doses of this protein mixture every day to laboratory rats suffering from polycystic kidney disease, a serious type of kidney disease. They used the rats as models for their research on chronic kidney disease or CKD.

Significant 20% Drop in Blood Pressure

After eight weeks, the rats with CKD, which received the protein mixture, displayed a 20% drop in their blood pressure when compared to similarly CKD-ailing rats fed with a regular diet. The researchers said their findings are significant, considering that the majority of CKD patients die from cardiovascular complications brought about by high blood pressure linked to kidney malfunction.

Lentils have also been shown by other studies to reduce blood pressure. A study involving lab mice also showed that those consuming lentils had better reductions in their blood pressure levels compared to those fed with chickpeas, peas, or beans.