Basics

Can Chicken Soup Reduce Blood Pressure

A study conducted on rats in Japan has found that the collagen in chicken acts akin to an ACE inhibitor and reduces blood pressure. This and many such studies have raised a question- can chicken soup help reduce blood pressure in humans? Let's try seeking an answer below.

The Proponents' Version

Well, chicken contains collagen (in four proteins in the meat) that acts like an ACE inhibitor to bring down blood pressure. When consumed, chicken soup acts like an ACE inhibitor.  Similarly even chicken directly can be used to have the same effect on people affected by high blood pressure.

However, the amount of salt in the chicken soup can negate the reducing effect that collagen protein in the chicken soup has on the blood pressure of a hypertensive patient. Therefore, if you want that your hypertension should be lowered, you need to forsake taste in favor of it. You need to ensure that very little salt is put into chicken soup. Also breast meat of chicken however, is not as rich in collagen as are its legs or its feet.

Thus the chicken collagen can easily be used in the daily diet of hypertensive patients. The use of chicken food is always a better alternative to ACE inhibitor drugs, because it will be better liked by patients of high blood pressure.

But how does this work? How does ACE inhibitor brings down blood pressure?

Our blood pressure is affected by the diameter of our blood vessels. When the blood vessels contract the blood pressure increases and when they dilate it decreases. With high blood pressure, the stress on the heart muscle increases. This is because it requires more force by the heart muscle to work and make blood circulate in the blood stream against the higher resistance posed by contracted blood vessels.

A chemical known as angiotensin II in our body affects blood pressure. When the body produces more of this chemical, the blood pressure increases. This is because angiotensin II causes the muscles around blood vessels to contract. Angiotensin II is produced normally when the chemical angiotensin in the blood is converted into angiotensin II.

ACE (angiotension converting enzyme) is responsible for converting the angiotensin into angiotensin II, which in turn causes hypertension (high blood pressure). Doctors therefore prescribe an ACE inhibitor, which is a hypertension relieving drug, to bring down high blood pressure. It acts by stopping the production of angiotensin II by not making ACE available to angiotensin.

This helps to stop the production of angiotensin II, which in turn stops the contraction of blood vessels. With the blood vessels dilated, the blood pressure decreases, thereby providing relief to a hypertension patient.