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Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood pushing against the walls of one’s arteries. If the pressure rises significantly and remains there for an extended period of time, it can cause damage to the body. Lucky for us, one of the most common vegetables we use today – celery – with its stringy stems and crisp texture provides a natural way to lower blood pressure. It decreases a potentially dangerous situation without the risk of possible side effects that might accompany prescribed medication.
A blood pressure reading is measured by two numbers. The top number referred to as systolic is the measure of pressure the blood exerts while the heart is beating. The lower number, diastolic, is the measure of pressure the blood exerts while the heart is relaxed. The suggested optimal blood pressure is 120/80.
Just how could celery juice affect this measurement? This versatile veggie contains active compounds named phthalides. These compounds provide health benefits by naturally relaxing the muscles in and around the walls of the arteries which cause those vessels to dilate, creating more space inside the arteries that permits the blood to flow at a lower pressure. Phthalides also have been reported to lower blood pressure and promote a healthy circulatory system by reducing what are known as stress hormones. This biennial vegetable also contains high amounts of magnesium, potassium, and calcium. The beneficial effect of these minerals in celery serves to calm the nervous system, automatically counterbalancing stress levels.
Although Hippocrates (a Greek physician considered the Father of Medicine, c. 460 BC – c. 377 BC) prescribed the juice of this leafy-topped stalk to patients suffering from nervous tension and although Chinese medicine has long recognized celery juice to reduce high blood pressure, only recently has it been studied in the Western world. The University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) is credited with one of the first studies of celery’s effects on blood pressure. In one instance, the father of a scientist at UCMC experienced a drop in his blood pressure from 158/96 to 118/82 after just one week of eating about four stalks a day.
To test this theory, a physician at the Whitaker Wellness Center and her father both drank celery juice for thirty days, mixing it with a little orange juice to camouflage the slightly bitter taste of juiced celery. Their results? The father’s systolic level dropped from 148 to 128, and the physician’s went from 120 to 105.
Including this most nutritious juice as a part of a healthy diet and lifestyle just may help keep the risks of high blood pressure from ever becoming an issue.