High blood pressure can affect anyone, but you're more at risk for developing the condition if you are overweight or obese, you have a family history of hypertension, you smoke cigarettes, you consume too much salt, or you have diabetes or kidney disease. Medication isn't the only solution; dietary changes such as drinking more carrot juice can be beneficial. However, remember that hypertension should be treated under a doctor's supervision.
High levels of cholesterol make your arteries more sensitive to high blood pressure and increase the likelihood that they will become damaged. For example, high cholesterol is a risk factor for atherosclerosis, a condition in which cholesterol and other blood lipids accumulate along the walls of arteries, causing them to become thick and hard. Carrots are abundant in a type of fiber called pectin, or calcium pectate, which binds to the bile in your gut and helps to sweep it out of your body.
Carrot juice is also rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins A and C. Antioxidants protect blood vessels from free radicals, which damage and kill cells. In a study
published in the "International Journal of Angiology" in 2005, researchers found that antioxidants may help to treat hypertension in a variety of ways. For example, it may reduce oxidative stress from free radicals and improve insulin resistance and the function of endothelial cells, which regulate the function and structure of blood vessels, including helping blood vessels to dilate.
Carrots are also a good source of potassium, a nutrient that is well-known for its ability to help regulate fluid balance in the body and to normalize blood pressure. Also, adding more potassium to your diet helps to counteract the effects of sodium, an electrolyte that increases blood pressure and that tends to be too excessive in the American diet. Consuming more potassium in foods such as carrots is beneficial for anyone with hypertension, but especially those whose condition is more affected by sodium.
The American Dietetic Association recommends that adults consume about 2-1/2 cups of vegetables daily. Carrot juice can be part of your daily intake of veggies. Whenever possible, buy unsweetened carrot juice, as sugar can make hypertension worse. You can also make it at home from fresh carrots, preferably organic, so you control the sugar content. If you have an allergy to carrots, try cooking the carrots for a few minutes before making your juice to help lower blood pressure.
- NetDoctor: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- NCBI Bookshelf; Blood Vessels and Endothelial Cells; Bruce Alberts, et al.; 2002
- Colorado State University Extension; Potassium and Health; J. Anderson, et al.
- American Dietetic Association: Healthy Eating for Women
- "International Journal of Angiology"; Antioxidants in the Treatment of Hypertension; Sudesh Vasdev and Vicki Gill; 2005