It is known that high blood pressure is a risk factor for a heart attack, so reducing your blood pressure is a good way to also lower the risk. There are many different ways you can lower your blood pressure such as reducing stress, losing weight, regular exercise, and above all, eating well.
The biggest trick for reducing blood pressure is to reduce your salt intake, as salt is a large contributing factor to higher blood pressure. Unfortunately, many Americans are consuming way too much salt, but the secret to reducing your salt intake is to get a bit spicy.
Eating spicy foods reduces salt intake, reducing risk of heart attack
The study found that people who consumed spicy foods were more likely to be sensitive to salt, meaning they would enjoy meals with less salt.
Senior study author Zhiming Zhu explained, “Previously, a pilot study found that trace amounts of capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their pungent smell, enhanced the perception of food being salty. We wanted to test whether this effect would also reduce salt consumption.”
The researchers looked at the eating habits of 606 Chinese adults and determined whether they preferred spicy or salty food. The participant’s preferences were then compared to their blood pressure levels.
The researchers found that those who consumed more spicy foods had a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 8mm and 5mm reduction in diastolic blood pressure. The individuals who didn’t enjoy spicy foods were more likely to consume more salt.
They suggest that if your food is well seasoned with other spices, then you won’t need to use that much salt, which can have a positive effect on your blood pressure.
It is recommended by NHS that we only consume six grams (2,300 mg) of salt a day as a means of reducing blood pressure. Unfortunately, the average American consumes 3,400 mg or more a day as a result of a diet high in processed and packaged foods.
Even if you don’t like spicy foods, there are several other seasonings that you can experiment with on your meals to properly flavor your dishes as opposed to just salting them. This way you not only cut back on your salt intake, but you work toward reducing your blood pressure, which protects your heart.