High blood pressure is a common and very scary condition. According to the American Heart Association, it currently affects over 80 million Americans and has some pretty serious and often fatal consequences. What’s most frightening is the fact that it usually has no symptoms.
This is why I want to take some time today to tell you about the effects of high blood pressure and also share some healthy and natural ways to lower it. One of my favorite tactics for lowering high blood pressure is juicing. The reason juicing can help is because eating a healthy diet can play a major role in preventing and lowering blood pressure.
For many people, beginning “a healthy diet” can be an intimidating endeavor. That’s why I love to suggest juicing to get people started. It’s a super easy way to get your fruits and vegetables without having to cook or even chew the nutritious food. But first let’s talk a little about blood pressure and why it matters.
Why Blood Pressure Matters
According to the American Heart Association, blood pressure measures the amount of force pushing on your arterial walls as blood is pumped through your veins. Your blood pressure is made up of two forces, measured as “systolic” and “diastolic” numbers.
Systolic is the top number in the reading and is higher of the two figures you’ll be given. It measures the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats, or when the heart muscle contracts.
Diastolic is the bottom number and is the lower number in the readout. This number measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats, or when the heart is resting between beats.
A normal blood pressure reading is around 120/80. You’re getting into the prehypertensive category if you creep above that. Full-blown high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, happens when you reach 140/90 and above.
So when does blood pressure become dangerous? The danger begins when your arteries become weak or damaged and therefore unable to properly regulate the flow of your blood. Buildup of cholesterol, plaque or scarring in your in your arteries causes your heart to pump harder to push blood into them. Over time, the increased effort can cause heart damage and failure.
If you’re like me and often need a visual to understand things, check out this YouTube video that animates exactly what blood pressure is and how it works.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
According to WebMD, the exact cause of high blood pressure is unknown however researchers believe several conditions and factors might contribute to its development. Some of these factors include:
- Poor diet including too much salt
- Drinking too much
- Old age
- Genetics or family history
SmokingObesityPoor diet including too much saltDrinking too muchStressOld ageGenetics or family history
As mentioned, you likely wouldn’t feel something wrong, but having high blood pressure can permanently damage your heart, brain, eyes and kidneys before you feel a thing.
High blood pressure, also called “the silent killer” can also lead to heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, among other health consequences. Therefore it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and see your physician regularly for checkups.
Why Should I Juice for High Blood Pressure?
As mentioned, I’ve found that a lot of family and friends have benefited greatly from the addition of fruits and vegetables.
Juicing is a simple and fun way to introduce a large amount of produce to your diet without a lot of hassle or planning. Here are some reasons you might want to introduce juicing in order to help control your blood pressure.
1. Anybody Can Do It
You don’t need any special skills or training to become a great juicer. To start, you can easily order a juicer on Amazon with just a couple of clicks.
Juicers are very simple to use and after just a quick read of the manual you’ll have your own homemade fresh juices in no time. Not sure where to start when it comes to ingredients? The internet is chock full of amazing juice recipes and experimentation can be the most enjoyable part of the whole process!
2. It Provides Variety
Maybe in the past you’ve only tried popular fruits and vegetables like grapes and apples but have steered clear of things like spinach or celery. Juicing lets you introduce a whole new array of vegetables into your diet without you even noticing they are there.
This is great because there are so many vegetables which can provide amazing benefits for your health – especially heart health. Now you can easily mix vegetables with other fruits and give yourself some added nutrition without having to really taste it.
Also, when it comes to nutrition, you’ll get the widest array of benefits by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Sticking to just one type will limit you. Mixing it up and introducing a colorful rainbow of produce into your diet will increase the amount and mixture of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you receive.
3. It’s Painless
When I mention juicing to a lot of people they cringe and shy away. They’re brought back to the days when their mother forced them to eat broccoli at the dinner table before they could have desert.
The memory of chewing and forcing down hated vegetables can stay with you for a long time. The good news is that juicing is quick and painless.
Within seconds, you can have a tasty juice that you can chug quickly. You won’t even realize you are drinking your greens! I’ll give you a couple of delicious and nutritious recipes below to prove it.
Which Fruits and Vegetables are Best to Juice for High Blood Pressure?
While any choice you make in the produce aisle is likely to bring you some nutritional benefits, there are some fruits and veggies that provide an extra boost, especially when it comes to high blood pressure prevention and treatment. Here’s a good list to start with.
1. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Eating your greens has long been sage advice. The reason is that dark, leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals that promote longevity, disease prevention and heart health. According to the author of “The Veggie Queen”, available on Amazon, “Greens are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to help improve your health.”
Dark leafy greens include things like romaine lettuce, kale, arugula and spinach. According to Healthline, foods like these are high in potassium which gives your body a “better ratio of potassium to sodium. This allows your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine, which lowers your blood pressure.”
Buying your dark leafy greens fresh, rather than out of a can or bag, means you won’t find any added ingredients or sodium.
Berries are pretty much at the top of every list compiled on disease prevention and good health. This is because berries are loaded with an impressive list of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants.
One of their most important antioxidants, especially present in blueberries, is flavonoids. According to Healthline, “One study found that consuming these compounds might prevent hypertension, and possibly help to reduce high blood pressure.”
Each type of berry has slightly different properties. To get the most bang for your buck, be sure to choose a variety at the grocery store. Using a mix of blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries will give you the ultimate variety of nutrition.
According to Everyday Health, what makes berries most special is the fact that they have an overwhelming amount of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. So not only will you be lowering your blood pressure, you’ll also be preventing further damage to your cells from environmental toxins.
Beets are one of those vegetables that you may not have tried before. The first time I brought beets home I had no idea what to do with them. Now with my juicer, beets are seriously one of my favorite juices. It’s so sweet and delicious and the color that pours out is vivid and beautiful.
Researchers from Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute have found that drinking beetroot juice caused significant improvements in people with high blood pressure. The cause seemed to be the nitrates present in the juice which lowered people’s blood pressure within 24 hours. Amazing, huh?
What’s most crazy is that participants only needed a small amount of juice – 250ml – to see these effects. Also, those that had higher blood pressure at the start of the study had a greater decrease by the end.
Keep in mind, you do have to be careful when using beets, their deep reddish-purple juice can stain your clothes or furniture.
Apples are definitely a friendly fruit to try when you first start juicing. You probably already eat them or enjoy a glass of store-bought apple juice here and there.
The problem with buying apple juice in the store is that they often come with added sugars and syrups. Juicing your own apple juice at home is a great way to get the benefits of apples without the crud so many companies like to add.
When it comes to blood pressure, Harvard Health names apples as one of the top 11 foods you should try when you need to lower your blood pressure. They state that apples are “rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.” LDL is more commonly known as “bad” cholesterol.
Juicing Recipes for High Blood Pressure
Now I want to share some of my favorite juicing recipes for high blood pressure. Again, no matter which fruits or vegetables you choose, you are going to be doing your body a favor.
However, if you add some of the fruits and vegetables mentioned above it will really help in your quest to lower your blood pressure. So without further ado, here are a couple of my favourite juicing for high blood pressure recipes.
Recipe #1 Beet the Pressure Juice
As I mentioned earlier, beets are one of my favorite veggies to juice with so I had to add this here first. Bonus for you is you’ll be on your way to lower blood pressure in no time after drinking this one.
- 3 medium beets
- 2 green apples
- 3 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
Recipe #2 Berry Healthy Juice
This berry recipe will provide all the antioxidants, vitamins and blood-pressure-lowering flavonoids you need.
- 5 large kale leaves
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- ½ cup pineapple chunks
Recipe #3 Popeye Punch
Remember the cartoon Popeye from back in the day? Well he was well-known for eating his spinach to grow big and strong. In this juice you’ll be getting some spinach to nourish your heart muscle, along with some other amazing ingredients!
- 1 cup of spinach leaves
- 2 green or red apples
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 lemon
- 1-inch piece of ginger
Juicing for High Blood Pressure – How to Do it Right
Today we learned that high blood pressure can be a silent and deadly killer. Regular checkups and prevention are key to keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level. One great way to do so is to eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Taking care of your body and your heart health is the only way to a long and healthy life.
Juicing for blood pressure is great for 3 reasons:
- Anyone can do it
- It provides variety to your diet
- It’s quick and painless
In order to “do it right” you’ll simply want to add some of the fruits and vegetables we talked about above. Adding beets, berries, dark leafy greens and apples can really give your diet that extra boost your heart needs.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of what juicing for blood pressure can do you for you, do you think you’ll try it? Let me know if the comments below!
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
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