Celery Lowers Blood Pressure
Eating celery regularly can control high blood pressure without the use of drugs according to China's Hunan Hemotological Research Center.
Celery contains a naturally occurring chemical called "apigenin" which has been shown to dilate the blood vessels and contribute to preventing high blood pressure. Celery also contains very small amounts of a chemical in called 3-n-butylphtalide (3nb) which lowers blood pressure by relaxing the smooth muscles that line the blood vessels. 3nb also lowers the level of stress hormones called catacholamines.
In the Middle East patients have routinely been given half a pound of celery a day to control hypertension. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, animals fed celery extracts had blood pressure readings 14 percent lower than those animals who did not receive the extracts. The animals were given the equivalent of 2 stalks daily. Systolic blood pressure readings went down an average of 15 points.
Compared to other vegetables celery has a nigh natural sodium content so it can satisfy the craving for salt on low-salt diets. It also has a high potassium value. This makes it excellent for people who are taking hypertensive medications. Celery contains 341 milligrams potassium and 125 milligrams sodium per 100 gram serving. Any food with a ratio of at least three parts potassium to one part sodium is good for people with high blood pressure. In the body, the ratio between potassium and sodium is more than two to one. Most prepared foods, including cooked vegetables, reduce the ratio more than tenfold.
When the diet is high in salt sodium is retained in the cells with a large amount of water. An abundant amount of potassium is necessary to displace the accumulated sodium in the cells. If potassium is not present, the tissue cells retain water with the sodium. For this reason doctors prescribe diuretics, commonly called "water pills" in order to remove the water. When diuretics are taken to lower the blood pressure, they work by removing sodium from the body. But when sodium is removed, potassium is also removed. For this reason potassium supplements are usually prescribed in conjunction with the hypertension drug.
Celery contains a natural diuretic substance and has been used traditionally in treating obesity because it tends to eliminate water weight. But the balance between sodium and potassium is not unbalanced as it is when synthetic drugs are taken.
For people who have blood pressure which is only mildly or moderately high, the eating of celery may be all that is needed to lower it to normal levels. But even for those who have extremely high blood pressure readings, celery can be helpful. Celery is an excellent diuretic that can improve the effectiveness of high blood pressure medication, meaning that the dosage of medication may be reduced.
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