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Garlic, Chocolate, or Tomatoes for (Pre-) Hypertension?

Journal für Hypertonie - Austrian Journal of Hypertension 2011; 15 (3): 7-10

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There is strong evidence to suggest garlic supplements to be an effective alternative or complementary treatment for hypertension. The blood pressure-reducing effect is comparable to first-line standard antihypertensive medication. Aged garlic extract, also known as Kyolic®, is the supplement of choice with a high safety profile if taken as a sole treatment or in addition to standard medication for hypertension. There is evidence to support a beneficial effect of cocoa products including dark chocolate on hypertension. The blood pressure-reducing effect achieved with regular consumption of cocoa products is lower compared with aged garlic extract but comparable to the effect achieved with lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise. However, practicability of chocolate as a treatment option is debatable, due to associated calorie intake. Lycopene in tomato extract has cholesterol-lowering properties similar to low-dose statins and may be considered as alternative treatment for patients with slightly elevated cholesterol levels. Current evidence is promising for a beneficial effect of lycopene for hypertension, warranting further research. Current evidence is inconclusive regarding a preventive role of garlic extract, chocolate or tomato extract to halt the progression of prehypertension to hypertension. Larger and longer-term studies are needed to elucidate whether these functional foods could be used as preventive remedies
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