Trying to defeat high blood pressure and inflammation? Adding plenty of vegetables to your diet on a regular basis can help get blood pressure under control without producing side effects. As you peruse the produce counter, be sure to pick up a bunch of celery, a vegetable that has been known to fight high blood pressure with great success.
This History Behind Celery as an Anti-Inflammatory Food
The ability of celery to lower high blood pressure has long been acknowledged by Chinese practitioners. Research in the West is in the process of catching up with what the Chinese have known for centuries.
This process began with a Chinese man named Mr. Lee who was new to the U.S., and went to see an American doctor. He was told he had mild high blood pressure and was given the usual advice to cut back on salt. But instead of being as compliant as most Americans are, Mr. Lee began eating four stalks of celery a day rather than cutting back on salt. Within a week, his blood pressure had dropped from 158/96 to 118/82.
After hearing Mr. Lee’s report, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago decided to investigate the properties of celery. His researchers injected a compound from celery known as 3-n-butyl phthalide into their laboratory animals, and found that their blood pressure quickly dropped 12 to 14 percent. This is because phthalide relaxes the muscles around arteries and allows blood vessels to dilate and produce space inside for blood to flow at a lower pressure. Additionally, phthalides reduced the amount of stress hormones, known as catecholomines, in the blood. These hormones typically raise blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict.
Since Mr. Lee’s experience, Chinese practitioners have developed a protocol for lowing high blood pressure with celery. It begins by eating four stalks every day for one week, then not consuming any more celery for the next three weeks. After that time passes, repeat the process of eating four stalks daily for a week, and then going with no celery for three weeks. Continue to repeat this until you achieve optimal blood pressure levels.
If you are taking high blood pressure medicine, you must be monitored by your doctor while this is going on, so your blood pressure does not become too low because of the medication. For people not liking to eat celery, it can be put into a juicer and quickly drunk.
Celery and other vegetables are effective even when cooked
A recent multinational research study has found that eating celery and other vegetables may knock out high blood pressure. The researchers examined data from 2195 Americans, ages 40-59 who participated in the International Study of Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP). They found that the intake of both raw and cooked vegetables were significantly effective at lowing blood pressure. Commonly eaten cooked vegetables that were effective in addition to celery included tomatoes, peas, and scallions.
There’s more to celery than treating high blood pressure
A “balanced diet” gets its name from the fact that non-starchy vegetables are present on the plate along with more acidic components of the diet such as dairy or meat. Like many other vegetables, celery is alkalizing, which helps keep the body’s pH in the healthy range. Celery’s alkalizing properties can help reduce inflammation, gout, and the threat of cancer.
Celery is in distinguished company, being part of the Unbelliferae family which also includes carrots, parsley, fennel and dill. Like those, the whole plant is beneficial. Celery leaves, roots, and seeds have been prized throughout time for their medicinal value. Other active compounds in celery include coumarins which have been shown to protect against cancer, and the bioflavonoid known as luteolin.
In fact, a research team has found that luteolin prevents activation of a pathway that allows inflammation in the brain to get switched on. It also protects human retinal pigment epithelial cells from oxidation and stress-induced cell death.
Luteolin has been shown to improve key aspects of neuropsychiatric disorders. In children with autism, improvement may be seen with a luteolin-containing dietary formulation.
Luteolin inhibits the proliferation of tumor cells and interferes with the ability of tumors to set up their own blood supplies. Luteolin has shown strong anti-proliferative activity against several human cancer cell lines, such as breast, prostate, and thyroid.
Still another compound from celery, known as apigenin, is a powerful COX-2 inhibitor that can stop inflammation as effectively as anti-inflammatory drugs. Apigenin shows antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, and is used in Chinese medicine to treat gout and other arthritic conditions.
Although celery has been highlighted here, it is by no means the only vegetable that provides such an array of benefits. Use the knowledge provided in this article as a springboard to discover what the entire vegetable kingdom has to offer.
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