Probiotics may play role in maintaining healthy blood pressure

By: Emily Lunardo | Blood Pressure | Sunday, February 14, 2016 - 09:00 AM

probiotics-may-play-role-in-maintaining-healthy-blood-pressureProbiotics are a common remedy for stomach troubles but it turns out, probiotics can work wonders on your blood pressure, too, according to new research. Treatment could be as simple as daily doses of foods you may already have on hand.

Australian researchers at Griffith University’s Health Institute and School of Medicine have found that eating foods rich in probiotics may help lower blood pressure. These findings were recently published in the journal Hypertension.

Generally speaking, probiotics are living microorganisms that make their home in your gut. Of course, these microorganisms also thrive in some common foods like these three tasty ones: Aged cheeses, cultured yogurt and fermented vegetables. Sauerkraut, anyone?

Previous research suggests that probiotics are so good for your health because they aid digestion and intestinal function while protecting your stomach and intestines against harmful bacteria.

Probiotics linked to maintaining healthy blood pressure

Probiotics are great as part of your regular diet, but the Griffith University study makes the strong link between probiotics and maintaining healthy blood pressure. In their study, researchers looked at nine high-quality studies, including those that assessed the probiotic consumption of 543 adults who had either normal or high blood pressure. On average, participants who had consumed probiotics daily (for two solid months) in foods like yogurt, kefir, miso and sauerkraut showed lower blood pressure overall. That’s compared to those who didn’t consume probiotics at all.

“The small collection of studies we looked at suggests regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels,” lead researcher Jing Sun told Medical News Today in July.

She says probiotics may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure because they can help to lower cholesterol levels, blood sugar and insulin resistance. The healthy bacteria in probiotics can also help to regulate the hormone system that manages fluid balance and blood pressure.

High blood pressure by the numbers

As the Heart and Stroke Foundation explains, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the force that pushes against the walls of the arteries as blood flows through them. If you have high blood pressure, it means that the walls of those arteries are receiving too much pressure, far too frequently.

Today, roughly 72 million Americans have high blood pressure. That breaks down to about one in every three adults over the age of 65. The good news is high blood pressure, while dangerous and often symptom-free, is highly treatable with a few adjustments to diet and lifestyle. This research shines new light on natural blood pressure control as effective.

Probiotics health benefits

Last year, Medical News Today reported findings that suggested probiotics could benefit brain function, help fight against chronic fatigue syndrome and even psoriasis. Not only this, but a study recently published in JAMA’s Pediatrics made a link between probiotics and a reduced risk of gastrointestinal disorders.

Additional benefits of probiotics include boosting the immune system, protecting the teeth, relieving diarrhea, and easing eczema. It is important to note that much of this research is in the early stages and so additional research is required.

Although these latest findings on probiotics and lowered blood pressure are promising, researchers do not recommend them for blood pressure control until further studies have confirmed the benefits. After all, their investigation looking at probiotics and blood pressure was limited and needs more participants for a more secure set of results.

However, that doesn’t mean the idea isn’t promising enough to test it out as part of your standard healthy eating and wellness routine. Probiotics could not only reduce your blood pressure, but are proven to be great for your overall health and diet. Now that’s good eating!

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