High Blood pressure is a very common condition seen amongst people whether it is older adults, middle-aged people and even teenagers.
While the exact causes of this condition remain unknown, some people blame it on genetics, sometimes high blood sugar and obesity may also lead to the deposition of plaque in the arteries and lead to atherosclerosis that can ultimately cause high blood pressure.
When the blood pushes against the walls of the blood vessels, it creates a big amount of force and makes the heart work faster and harder.
Hence it can prove to be very harmful to the heart and lead to heart failure and also stroke.
While the normal blood pressure is 120/80, 120-139 over 80-89 is considered as prehypertension. 140-159 over 90-99 is considered as stage 1 high blood pressure and 160 and above over 100 and above is stage 2 high blood pressure.
People aged over 60 years have high blood pressure if the readings are 150 and above over 90 and above.
To avoid this, a lot can be done, such as incorporating exercise into the daily routine, avoiding unhealthy, junk and processed foods.
Other alternatives include supplementing your diet with foods or drinks which help to tame the causes of blood pressure. One such food is wheatgrass.
What is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is a great solution for those trying to shifting to healthier foods. The young grass of the wheat plant, Triticum aestivum, is known as wheatgrass.
It is made from the cotyledons of the plant. Unlike other wheat products, wheatgrass is gluten-free.
Nowadays, a variety of forms of wheatgrass is available such as pills, capsules, tablets, juice and powder.
There are a number of benefits associated with wheatgrass consumption.
It contains chlorophyll which has the ability to cleanse tissues, remove wastes from them, replenishes red blood cells, neutralizes toxins and also regulates blood sugar levels.
It contains Vitamins A, B, C, E and K and minerals such as magnesium, sodium, zinc, potassium and also calcium, which regulates the heartbeat.
Benefits of Wheatgrass for High Blood Pressure
The best way people utilize it is by taking it in the form of wheatgrass juice by first grinding it in order to form a powder and then mix with water. Wheatgrass can also help regulate the blood pressure in many ways. Enlisted ahead are a few ways in which wheatgrass can help us in the achievement of optimal blood pressure:
1. It contains Vitamin C that reduces hypertension
Wheatgrass contains a good amount of vitamin C (4g of wheatgrass contains approximately 12% Vitamin C), which is a natural antioxidant.
It hence has the capability to neutralize free radicals that render damage to the body cells and also protects the nitric oxide in the blood which helps in the relaxation of blood vessels and prevents stiffness of the arteries putting lesser pressure on the heart.
According to a review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, taking vitamin C orally had a significant impact on blood pressure.
29 trials were taken into account and the dose of vitamin C was approximately 500mg per day for a period of 8 weeks.
It was observed that vitamin C reduced systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure. A survey was also carried out that included adults aged over 65 years.
Those on medications in order to lower their blood pressures were excluded. It was observed that the higher the concentration of Plasma ascorbate in the body, the lower was the blood pressure.
The two were found to be inversely correlated.
What does this mean?
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid helps in the reduction of blood pressure by elimination of free radicals and protection of nitric oxide in the blood that relaxes the blood vessels.
2. It boosts antioxidant levels
Oxidative stress can be another cause of hypertension. As free radicals damage the membranes or the endothelium of the vascular tissues, it ultimately impairs their ability to relax and causes them to contract.
Oxidative stress can arise due to high levels of fat or cholesterol in the body. Hyperlipidemia can also result in the lowering of levels of antioxidants in the blood.
An animal study was conducted where wheatgrass was accommodated into the diets of the animal suffering from hyperlipidemia for a period of 10 weeks.
This increased the levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and decreased total cholesterol. It also increased the levels of vitamin C (that is, antioxidants) and diminished the oxidative stress caused due to hyperlipidemia.
The compound responsible for this apart from vitamin C is Methylphophorbide which is isolated from wheatgrass.
It has the capacity to scavenge the free radicals and also get rid of cancers.
What does this mean?
Wheat grass contains vitamin C and Methylphophorbide which reduce oxidative stress and prevent damage that is caused to the blood vessels due to free radicals and promote the regulation of lipids thereby regulating blood pressure.
3. It reduces high cholesterol levels
Cholesterol, especially the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL) have a significant impact on the blood vessels.
They accumulate inside the blood vessels preventing the blood from passing smoothly due to the formation of plaque.
This condition is known as atherosclerosis. As the force of blood increases against the walls of the arteries, blood pressure increases and it results in hypertension.
According to an animal study, when hypercholesterolemic rats were administered with wheatgrass juice for a period of 14 days, it lead to a decline in the LDL, triglycerides, VLDL and total cholesterol levels.
A higher excretion of cholesterol was observed. It hence benefitted those animals which suffered from atherosclerosis associated with hypercholesterolemia.
Another study published in the “Journal of dietary supplements” reported that supplementation of wheatgrass into the diets of hyperlipidemic women helped reduce the cholesterol levels.
One of the biggest menopausal symptoms observed in women is the elevation of atherogenic lipoproteins. Hence, the risk of suffering from atherosclerosis increases.
When such women consumed freeze-dried wheatgrass tablets for a period of 10 weeks, there was a reduction in total cholesterol as well as triacylglycerols. The levels of HDL remained undisturbed.
What does this mean?
Wheatgrass supplementation in the diet markedly reduces cholesterol levels directly impacting high blood pressure levels, reducing them.
4. It regulates fat metabolism
High lipid levels and hypermipidemia increase the oxidative stress in the body. They also impact cholesterol levels, increasing them. These conditions altogether lead to high blood pressure.
An animal study was conducted. The effect of wheatgrass supplementation upon their lipid profile was to be observed. Wheatgrass was administered orally for a period of 21 days and 24 hours later; blood samples were collected in order to check the lipid profile.
It was observed that wheatgrass had a hypolipidemic effect, as it reduced the triglycerides, VLDL, LDL and total cholesterol levels.
What does this mean?
Wheatgrass promotes the elimination of fat and bad cholesterol from the body, regulated the lipid profile and aids hypertension.
5. It benefits in Diabetes
Most people suffering from type-2 diabetes almost always suffer from hypertension.
Diabetes renders damage to the arteries making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis, paving the way for the development of conditions such as high blood pressure.
People suffering from diabetes should not have blood pressure over 140/80.
Wheatgrass helps in controlling diabetes and thereby prevents abnormally high levels of blood pressure.
According to an animal study published in “Advances in Pharmacological Sciences” in the year 2013 demonstrated that upon administration of wheatgrass for a period of 30 days, orally, the hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia and oxidative stress were ameliorated.
This was done by a regulation in the levels of enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, lipid peroxides and glutathione peroxidase which reduced the oxidative stress.
It increased the levels of glutathione (an antioxidant) and vitamin E as well, that helps reducing blood pressure.
An animal study was conducted to assess the effect of wheatgrass in diabetes. The glucose and insulin levels in the plasma were examined so were the glycogen levels in the liver.
It was concluded that supplementation of wheatgrass had potent anti-hyperglycaemic effects.
Chlorophyll present in the wheatgrass also promotes satiety. It prevents food intake and body weight gain. It regulates the levels of glucose and insulin and also prevents postprandial hypoglycaemia.
What does this mean?
Wheatgrass has anti-diabetic effects as it regulates blood sugar levels, reduces oxidative stress and also attenuates hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia ultimately restoring the blood pressure levels back to normal.
6. It protects liver health
Sometimes, due to a damaged liver, the free flow of blood is inhibited because the arteries taking blood to the liver get blocked.
This can lead to swollen blood vessels in many areas of the body and this causes a rise in the blood pressure levels.
The cirrhosis of the liver can be caused by alcohol abuse, hepatitis and sometimes even fatty liver. It is hence important to keep the liver in a healthy condition in order to prevent high blood pressure.
In cases of alcohol abuse, liver disease can develop due to the release of a high number of free radicals. This oxidative stress can be prevented with the help of wheatgrass. Adverse effects of alcohol on the liver can also be diminished.
Supplementation of wheatgrass in such cases eliminated free radicals, as the marker enzymes such as lipid hydroperoxides and thiobarbutric acid reactive substances were reduced.
This was accompanied by an elevation in the levels of antioxidants- enzymatic as well as non-enzymatic.
Alcohol intake can also prove to be toxic for the liver, leading to cirrhosis, fatty liver, hepatitis as well as fibrosis.
Furthermore, intake of foods high in fats, such as fried foods can further compensate for the damage.
According to a study published in “The Journal of membrane biology” in the year 2014, administration of wheatgrass had protective effects on the membrane of the liver that prevented damage from fats and alcohol. It also acted as a liver cleanser.
Wheatgrass administration decreased the levels of phospholipids, the composition of fatty acids was changed and there was an increase in the levels of phospholipase A and C which result in the breakdown of fats.
What does this mean?
Wheat grass protects the membrane of the liver from damage due to fats and alcohol, thereby preventing the blockage of the blood vessels connected to the liver which altogether prevents hypertension.
Freshly collected wheatgrass can be cut and then pounded and crushed.
After wrapping it in a thin cloth, or a muslin cloth, the juice can be extracted out of it. It can also be crushed in a mixer. Tablets, pills and capsules are also available for the same.
A dose of wheatgrass can range from 3 grams upto 6 grams or 10-30 ml of the juice per day.
It can be taken on an empty stomach for maximum benefits and food and drinks must be avoided for an hour after consumption.
The dose can be increased gradually, however one must not exceed 3 doses per day.
Before the incorporation of wheatgrass into the diet, one must check for allergies. People allergic to wheat must also take care, as one may experience headaches and nausea.
There is not enough evidence of consumption of wheatgrass during pregnancy and breastfeeding, hence it is best if avoided during that time.
Wheatgrass is a powerful supplement and can help control the blood pressure in a number of ways, such as by reducing oxidative stress, high cholesterol and lipid levels, controlling diabetes, having cardioprotective and hepatoprotective effects.
It is packed with vitamins and minerals and can boost the number of nutrients that one consumes each day.
However, one must not exceed the recommended dosage ad must consult a physician before consuming it on an everyday basis in full swing.