High blood pressure is a serious risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Heart-healthy drinks can make a difference. There is a wide variety of drinks, so you should be able to find something that appeals to you.
The French paradox points to alcohol, particularly red wine, as the reason that a diet otherwise heavy in saturated fats does not always result in hypertension. But Japanese researchers in their 2007 study “Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research” found that alcohol increases blood pressure, beginning with the first drink. That contradicts an earlier large study that indicated one or two alcoholic drinks a day lowered the risk of heart disease in men and women, according to The Centre for Alcohol Research at the National Institute for Public Health in Denmark.
Potassium is a mineral abundant in orange juice and bananas. Getting more potassium from food sources benefits muscles, including the heart. Potassium-rich foods counteract the negative effects of too much sodium in the diet. Eat a low-salt diet and drink fresh orange juice to balance electrolytes.
Only water is water. Everything else has to be filtered by the body. Staying hydrated is important because thick blood is more likely to clot and clog blood vessels. Drink six to eight glasses of water each day.
Raw leafy greens have anti-inflammatory, alkalizing and cholesterol-lowering properties. Taken regularly and in large enough amounts, they lower blood pressure. All you need is a powerful blender to help you get more greens in your diet.
4 frozen bananas
4 cups water
2 large handfuls of spinach, washed and trimmed
1 tsp. vanilla
Stevia or maple syrup to taste
Blend all ingredients at high speed.
To increase potassium, use dates instead of other sweeteners, or substitute fresh orange juice for water. Use other chopped fruits, carob powder, cinnamon, almond or rice milk, and yogurt for variety. Chia or flax seeds will add heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Another way to enjoy fresh greens is to juice them. If you like commercial vegetable juices but avoid them because of the salt, you will love this fresh version. Twin-gear juicers work best for greens but a single gear will do.
1 stalk celery
1/2 bunch parsley
1 bunch spinach or a head of romaine or green or red leaf lettuce
4 medium tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 red bell pepper
Wash and trim all ingredients and put them through a juicer. Mix all together in a pitcher. Green juice is best when enjoyed immediately. If you want to save some for later, minimize exposure to light and air. Fill a dark bottle to the top and add a tight fitting lid to keep it in the refrigerator for a day.
More tomatoes, carrots and a small bit of beet will make this juice taste more like commercial vegetable juice. Add apple for a sweet taste.
Check with your doctor before drinking extra fluids or alcohol. In a condition known as congestive heart failure, it may be necessary to restrict fluids. Parsley has properties similar to wheat grass juice. It should be taken in small amounts initially to prevent an upset stomach.