This Food Could Be The Key To Reducing Blood Pressure In Pregnant Women

mbg Editorial Assistant By Christina Coughlin
mbg Editorial Assistant
Christina Coughlin is an editorial assistant at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a degree in psychology and music.
Pregnant Woman Washing Produce in Her Kitchen

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High blood pressure is bad for many reasons, but when it affects someone who is pregnant, it can be even worse. Preeclampsia, the official name for pregnancy hypertension, occurs when a pregnant woman has high blood pressure and excessive swelling. It has potentially harmful effects for both the mother and the baby.

New research, however, has identified an antioxidant compound typically found in mushrooms that may be able to treat common symptoms of preeclampsia.

Testing the compound in rats.

Researchers tested this hypothesis using pregnant rats with high blood pressure, using L-ergothioneine, a compound extracted from mushrooms, to treat the hypertension. When compared with the control group, results showed that the compound was effective in treating symptoms of the disorder—not only lowering blood pressure but boosting health in other ways. 

Lead author Cathal McCarthy, Ph.D., says, "Our research shows that treating rats with preeclampsia with the natural antioxidant L-ergothioneine reduced blood pressure, prevented fetal growth restriction and dampened production of the damaging substances released from the placenta during preeclampsia.” 

When a woman has preeclampsia, it not only affects her health, but it affects the baby as well. The disorder can be fatal in both if left untreated or undiagnosed. Studies like these give us more information about the disorder along with potential treatments, which helps make progress to eliminate health issues for both the mother and the baby. 

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Where else can you get L-ergothioneine?

Researchers are working on a way to manufacture the compound on their own, hoping that a greater production will help improve treatment for hypertensive pregnant mothers. "Today, ergothioneine is either made chemically or extracted from mushrooms, but we are developing a method to make it biologically," says author Douglas Kell. "This should lead to its much wider availability."

While the study was only done on rats, researchers hope that these results will translate to humans, effectively treating preeclampsia, which can help both expecting mothers and their unborn children.

For other ways to reduce blood pressure in a more natural way, check out our best tips. Plus, if you're looking for more ways to incorporate mushrooms into your diet, we've got some great recipes.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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