Can these help reduce blood pressure?

Can these help reduce blood pressure?

…could keep hypertension at bay? I can honestly say I had never heard that one before, but, today’s LA TImes Health section says this just may be the case.

A quick search on Pubmed, of “eggplant and hypertension” yields only two results. One of which was an in vitro study done last year (meaning it was performed in a petri dish more or less) which concluded that because eggplants contain certain phytochemicals, known as phenolic compounds, they may exert similar activity to not only common blood pressure drugs such as ACE inhibitors, but, also diabetes management drugs known as alpha glucosidase inhibitors.

While these results are definitely encouraging, its hard to apply them to humans. Basically, more clinical trials of eggplant consumption on humans would need to be done in order to warrant an actual recommendation of more than one’s usual intake of eggplants. And indeed, it seems as though there is some ongoing research on the potentially therapeutic value of eggplants. You can find some information on a Phase 1 study on the effects of consumption of eggplant extract capsules on lipid profiles here.

The other Pubmed result explores the traditional medicinal uses of various vegetables, but, does not provide any conclusive evidence that eggplants are directly related to reducing one’s blood pressure. This paper is available at this link.

That being said, eggplant is very low in calories (an entire, 1 1/4 lb unpeeled eggplant only has 132 calories, an impressive 18 grams of fiber, 1260 mg of potassium (an imporant mineral in itself for helping with hypertension), and 121 mcg of folate (also good for the heart).

Bottom Line: The eggplant water is not a proven method of reducing hypertension (and it sounds slightly unpalatable), but, if you like eggplant, it is certainly a great part of any diet. There are diet plans specifically recommended for reducing hypertension. One such diet plan is the DASH diet. This plan places a heavy emphasis on eating LOTS of fruits and vegetables. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute also give lots of great information on managing high blood pressure through diet. And actually, the DASH diet is a very healthy diet for most people to follow, though it is not specifically for losing weight, it possibly could jump start a weight loss if it is a drastic change to one’s eating habits. Of course, check with your primary care provider before starting any new type of regimen.

References:

Y.-I. Kwon, E. Apostolidis, K. Shetty, In vitro studies of eggplant (Solanum melongena) phenolics as inhibitors of key enzymes relevant for type 2 diabetes and hypertension, Bioresource Technology, Volume 99, Issue 8, May 2008, Pages 2981-2988.

Lans CA. J Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus. Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2006; 2: 45. Published online 2006 October 13.
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