I recently caught up with an old friend I knew when I was 17 and in the years that have passed both of us had that moment where your life is hanging by a thread and modern medicine yanks you back into the world of the living. His was life saving heart surgery 2 years ago and mine was cancer in 95 and near death in 2004 that I wrote about here
His experience- starting with weeks of daily headaches, high blood pressure, a diagnosis of a a blocked artery ended with a life saving bi-femural bypass operation. His heart disease, hypertension and high blood pressure experience got me thinking about food, nutrition and doctors again. Everytime I hear or read someone’s story about how they changed what they were eating by starting to drink green smoothies and eat more plant based food and their blood pressure dropping to the point they were no longer taking medication- I am more convinced about the healing power of the right foods- if you give your body what it needs it will know what to do with it- heal.
The new movie Forks Over Knives coming out soon is about this and the doctors who are breaking the back of heart disease, obesity and diabetes through plant based food diets- I cannot wait for it to open here. It is presently on screens in the US and steadily gaining interest and opening in more cities. Complete life turn around and say goodbye to heart disease!
The magic answer to health disease lies in foods that contain nutrients, vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and are antioxidants and vasodilators that naturally lower blood pressure and hypertension. Top of the list would be celery- this has compounds that make muscles in your arteries relax and open wider. This of course allows the blood to flow at a lower pressure and is wonderful for hypertension. Of course if you don’t have high blood pressure or heart disease these are really healthy heart foods.
Potassium? Yes an important electrolyte so we’re looking at more major GREEN SMOOTHIE ingredients here-all the leafy greens like spinach and fruits like bananas! The folates in spinach and all leafy greens do the same as celery- reduce hypertension and relax blood vessels. I always add a Lebanese cucumber everyday-great source of potassium and counters effects of sodium.
All great fruits are apples oranges (use the whole peeled orange in the blender) raisins guavas pawpaw/papaya melons mangoes peaches pineapple and strawberries. Lemon juice which is a green smoothie essential and also some lemon skin helps to make capillaries flexible. Start your day with some warm water with fresh lemon juice for high blood pressure then get green smoothie making.
Research has proved pomegranates are also beneficial for hypertension along with green tea because of their high level of antioxidants. You can buy the juice to use as the liquid in your green smoothie and also make green tea and cool it down in the fridge overnight before using the next morning.
wheatgrass is a blood pressure star by using the compounds in the chlorophyll to help the blood capillaries and reducing blood pressure. You can buy this fresh or in frozen shots.
The essential fatty acids in coconut oil have so many benefits to heart health and has other healing properties- here’s a great article by Dr Mercola on coconut oil and another just on coconut oil and heart health I add a tbsp to my green smoothie everyday-delicious-especially with tropical fruit like pineapple and limes. It’s also great for your skin. If you can find hemp seed oil there is also evidence that this nutritional supplement is great for heart disease and high blood pressure-I haven’t tried it yet so can’t tell you what it tastes like in a green smoothie.
Chia seeds are another superfood you can add and has even gone mainstream and is available in any health food shop. I love chia seed and add 2 tabs everyday plus you can make puddings with it and sprinkle on cereal. Here’s my info on omega 3 and chia seeds if you want more info.
Research has also shown watermelon and particularly dried roasted watermelon seeds act significantly in the same way. I remember in Cairo Egyptians always having these and sunflower, pumpkin seeds and pistachios always ready to eat as a traditional snack. Grind the roasted watemelon seeds and add to your green smoothie.
I love frozen chunks of watermelon in my green smoothie. If you are using it fresh you won’t need as much water or juice. Just keep it out of the way of the ants!