This common legume can help lower your blood pressure, study says

When it comes to understanding blood pressure, consider these 5 points Understand what your blood pressure reading means Some factors in high blood pressure are out of your control Get the right diagnosis Focus on what you can change Talk to the experts

Looking for a way to combat high blood pressure? One plant may be able to help, according to a new report.

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Researchers from the University of Manitoba in Canada conducted a study, recently presented at an American Heart Association conference, to determine the foods associated with reducing hypertension.

To do so, they examined rats with unhealthy blood pressure levels and heart-related illnesses. They then fed them different types of legumes, including beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas, over a certain period of time.

After analyzing the results, they first found that eating a mix of legumes improved blood flow in the legs of animals with peripheral artery disease, which decreases the size of the arteries in the limbs.

They later discovered that lentils, specifically, blocked high blood pressure and reversed the decline in blood vessel health.

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"These are amazing results, since they provide a non-pharmacological way of treating diseases associated with blood vessel dysfunction," lead researcher Peter Zahradka said in a statement. "Lentils could alter the physical properties of blood vessels so that they resembled the vessels found in healthy animals."

Lentils, often added to soups and other dishes, provide fiber, antioxidants, folate and magnesium, which have all been associated with good heart health. These properties also help regulate blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

While the scientists have not yet administered a human trial, they believe their findings are strong. They hope to continue their investigations to encourage doctors to create special diet plans for those with heart disease and other related conditions.

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