Elevated blood pressures are often a concern for my over-40 age patients. Some of them need to take prescription medications to keep blood pressures normal and decrease the risk of stroke. However, one thing I tell my patients with elevated blood pressures is that there are some natural remedies that can help lower blood pressure. They’re often surprised to learn that some of these include common produce from your supermarket! In fact, several of my patients who have tried these foods have either been able to go off their prescription medications or lower their dosage. Read on to learn about the two common produce foods that can lower blood pressure.
Supermarket Produce Lowers Blood Pressure
Fruits and vegetables are foods that not only taste great but they have amazing medicinal properties to them as well. Mother Nature certainly knew what she was doing in creating these colorful foods that are full of health-protecting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
In addition, many types of produce contain certain chemical compounds, in just the right balance, that work as well as many prescription medicines do in controlling blood pressure. Two of these common produce foods are celery and watermelon. Let’s look at celery first.
Celery: The Greeks first started using celery to control nervousness, which may contribute to high blood pressure. The Chinese have also been using ground celery powder for centuries to control blood pressure. However, the same effect can be achieved eating the raw produce itself. Celery contains vitamins K, B6, C, and minerals potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and iron, in addition to the chemicals apigenin, pthalide and coumarin.
First, celery has the perfect sodium to potassium ratio making it an excellent, natural potassium-sparing diuretic. Many people who take prescription blood pressure medications take a potassium-sparing diuretic that both lowers their blood pressure and doesn’t deplete potassium stores.
Second, the three chemicals that celery contains, apigenin, phtalide and coumarin, all work to lower blood pressure by both reducing the stress hormones, cortisol, catecholamine and adrenaline, and relaxing smooth vascular muscles. Celery has been tested in recent research out of Vietnam and found to have significant blood pressure lowering properties. Apigenin is also thought to have anti-cancer, HIV, and anti-viral properties as well.
Watermelon: Another summer favorite produce food, watermelon, has also been proven in recent research out of Florida State University to lower blood pressure. The study was the first of its kind to use humans in its clinical trials. It involved giving 6 units of compounds extracted from watermelon – L.citrulline/L.arginine, to study participants daily for 6 weeks.
At the end of that time, the participants had improved arterial function and lower arterial blood pressures in all nine prehypertensive study participants. The researchers concluded that watermelon was a functional food’ that had vasodilatory effects and capable of preventing prehypertension progressing to full blown hypertension. Approximately 60% of Americans have prehypertension.
In addition, researchers offered that supplementing with watermelon could allow for lowered prescription blood pressure medication to control blood pressure. The beneficial dose would be 4-6 grams a day of L.citrulline in supplement or natural (whole watermelon) type.
Watermelon is also noted to be a well-tolerated, rich source of L.citrulline. In the body, L.citrulline converts to L.arginine, which creates nitric oxide necessary to control vascular tone and blood pressure. Watermelon is also an excellent diureticand a rich source of the carotenoids lutein (eyes) and lycopene (prostate, cardiovascular disease).
As I advise my patients, adding celery and watermelon to your diet can certainly help lower blood pressure and, perhaps, allow you to reduce or eliminate blood pressure medications. Celery and watermelon are also available in capsule-form supplements. However, as both of them are very low in calories, chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, and taste great, I recommend eating the whole produce instead.
Celery and watermelon are definitely two of Mother Nature’s incredible creations that you can’t go wrong with eating. They not only help you lower your blood pressure but provide you with incredible nutrients to further protect your health.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.