Celery and High Blood Pressure - Celery and Hypertension
High blood pressure affects nearly 75 million Americans which represents about 20% of the population. In actual fact high blood pressure is a worldwide problem which is related to many other major diseases ever encountered in the life of an individual.
Key amongst the different approaches to hypertension treatment is lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes at the core relate to how and what people eat and drink. Research shows that eating a lot of vegetables and fruits is immensely beneficial to controlling high blood pressure or even eliminating it.
The mother of all eating approaches tailor-made for hypertension patients is arguably DASH. A specific hypertension diet globally recognised and recommended by nutritionists and dietitians. It's not always necessary nor possible to engage DASH for some people suffering from high blood pressure. Adding fruit and vegetables like celery to control hypertension has been shown to produce some significant results. This is without necessarily following DASH. There is certainly a clear medical association between celery and high blood pressure. Celery is amongst recognised foods that lower blood pressure.
Unlike the relationship between caffeine and high blood pressure which is essentially negative, celery nutrition is commonly used to reduce blood pressure. It forms part of a very good diet to lower blood pressure that is used widely across the world by consuming its leaf stalk or the celery root or celery seed.
Celery seeds are also extracted from the vegetable plant for the purposes of use as a flavouring or spice. When mixed with salt they form what is known as celery salt. The celery seeds have been known to work as some form of pain killer because they contain a specific component called 3-N-butyl-phthalide. This particular component has been conclusively linked to a blood pressure lowering effect in patients.
The following is a nutritional value or calorie table for celery;
source:USDA Nutrient Database
Hypertension patients attempting to lose weight will also find use in celery diets. A celery diet provides low-calorie dietary fibre coveted by individuals out to lose weight. The component butyl phthalide in celery mentioned above apart from being responsible for the distinctive smell and taste of celery soup is also credited for having the welcome effect of reducing blood pressure in hypertension patients. This is the primary reason for the association between celery and high blood pressure.
Phthalides relaxes the smooth muscles lining the blood vessels by causing the artery muscles to dilate allowing more blood to flow freely without restriction at reduced pressure along the arteries. A look at what causes high blood pressure will reveal that blood vessels are of paramount importance in understanding how blood pressure works. Phthalides also reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Stress has been shown to cause blood pressure spikes. Stress hormones cause blood pressure vessels to constrict.
Phthalides have two other medically recognised benefits namely cancer and high cholesterol prevention properties. Phthalide is potent as an anti-tumor agent, an important element in cancer prevention.
Some high blood pressure patients have wondered about the positive relationship between celery and high blood pressure in the face of its well known high sodium content. Sodium is strongly discouraged amongst hypertension patients because of its ability to store water in the bloodstream thereby increasing blood pressure. In real terms celery has up to 35.2mg of sodium in one stalk. Compared to other foods that people eat its not so high.
However, hypertension patients on a salt restricted diet of 1000mg or less aught not to eat celery even without adding table salt. Other alternative vegetables such as green pepper, broccoli or cauliflower would suffice. Celery is also rich in potassium. As part of routine high blood pressure treatment and management hypertension patients are encouraged to eat a diet rich in potassium. This is however not the same as taking potassium suppliments which is discouraged unless under doctor's care. Potassium is essential in regulating fluid balance in the body system. In fact it also stimulates urine production ridding the body of excess fluid. This gives celery diuretic properties. A quick look at hypertension medications often prescribed after consulting hypertension guidelines will show that diuretics are central to high blood pressure treatment.
Celery negative effects
Is as much as there is much sort after beneficial association between celery and high blood pressure, celery can also be a lethal allergic poison in some individuals. Unfortunately the allergen in celery does not seem to be destroyed at cooking temperatures. This means even if you cook the vegetable you will still be stuck with the allergen. The allergen found in celery is in the same group as that of peanuts and known for provoking the most severe allergic reactions.
More allergen is present in celery root which is commonly consumed as celeriac. The celery root has more allergen than its stalk. Altogether celery seeds contain the the highest level of allergen content. Apart from allergy, vegetables such as celery may also contain pesticide residue which is harmful in some people and known to cause liver damage. This is also true even in organically grown vegetables which are then washed with municipal water which may also contain traces of pesticides to some degree. Hypertension patients consuming celery therefore need to be aware of these possible side effects of a celery diet. Consulting your doctor concerning possible allergic reaction is the best advice.
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