If the side effects of taking various blood pressure or cholesterol drugs are dragging you done, just know that you have many options. For example, I had a reader write me and ask about natural ways to reduce blood pressure because he was worn out from taking atenolol, rosuvastatin, and amlodipine. While I cannot legally recommend him stopping those, it’s certainly a discussion to have with the doctor. In the meantime, I see nothing wrong with a few dietary changes until that conversation can happen.
Today, I will elaborate on one easy, affordable and impressive option… beets!
They pack a crimson punch like no other veggie because they contain powerful compounds that may reduce blood pressure, promote bile flow, ease digestive disorders, improve heart disease, lower cholesterol and prevent cancer. I can’t name one drug from my pharmacy with a bio like that. And a bunch of beets is probably all of 4 dollars!
In our heavily medicated country, it’s considered bizarre to tell a person to drink beet juice for blood pressure. The expectation is that you need to take Norvasc or Atenolol to get well, am I right?
We have become programmed to take super drugs, not superfoods.
Studies point to amazing heart-healthy benefits. Beets even look like hearts if you think about it. They lower blood pressure by increasing levels of ‘nitric oxide’ in your blood vessels. The anti-platelet action of beets reduces risk for blood clots. Beets can dissolve inorganic calcium deposits that clog up your pipeline. Beets can lower total cholesterol and triglycerides by 30 and 40 percent, respectively while increasing those good HDLs! Has your statin done that for you? They are rich in folic acid and betaine, two substances which neutralize inflammatory chemicals like C reactive protein, homocysteine and interleukin.
With all this in mind, I’m thinking fewer strokes and heart attacks, are you?
Glycine betaine, a.k.a. “trimethylglycine” or TMG is actually what you want to buy/take to reduce homocysteine, not Betaine HCL (which is a digestive acid).
A 2008 study in Hypertension found that drinking two cups of beetroot juice reduced blood pressure by up to 10 points for 24 hours! There were no major side effects. Blood pressure medications often cause dizziness, weakness, body aches, muscle cramps, arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke. Wait, it gets better.
That beautiful purple-reddish color of beets occurs because of a compound called “betacyanin” which has demonstrated itself as a powerful cancer-fighter, especially against colon cancer. In one study, animals with colon cancer were fed beet fiber and researchers noticed an increase in the activity glutathione, which helps rid your body of toxic cancer-causing poisons. In another study, beets increased the number of cancer-destroying cells in the colon (CD8 cells) and the animals in the study showed fewer pre-cancerous changes. Beet juice may negate the effects of eating processed meats laden with dangerous “nitrosamines.” Envision less stomach cancer.
Beets may color your urine or stool slightly pink; that’s harmless. If you have oxalate kidney or gallstones, limit intake of the leafy beet greens because they contain oxalates. Beets themselves are probably fine but ask your doctor. I’ve posted a few beet recipes at my website and facebook. While I prefer you eat fresh beets/juice, beetroot juice and oral supplements are sold at most health food stores.
A lot of people use beets to help with methylation and that is an AWESOME idea, because the beets offer a methyl group which drives the methylation pathway and directly reduce homocysteine which, when elevated, lead to tremendous amounts of pain and suffering. High homocystiene is a pain-inducing compound in the body, which can increase the frequency of migraines, headaches, neck, knee or other joint pain, side/abdominal pain, pancreatitis, muscle pain, twitches and much more. If you’d like to read about homocysteine, CLICK HERE to read my article called, NSAIDs Raise Homocysteine and Impair Methylation.
If you have trouble with joint pain, you might enjoy this article I wrote, The 6 Best Foods to Eat if You Have Arthritis.
You might also need support for your cartilage and joints, in which case, I hope you take a minute to check out my patent-pending supplement called Joint Script with MSM and Curcumin.
The trouble with homocysteine is that doctors don’t usually think to evaluate this inflammatory cytokine. Instead, they prescribe anxiolytics, sleepers and optiates. For sure the painkilling opiates! Those drugs are drug muggers of melatonin so they contribute to poor sleep, then you have insomnia on top of whatever else you were dealing with! Here’s an article on insomnia I wrote called, 7 Common but Strange Reasons for Insomnia.
Furthermore, most prescribed pain medications lead to intractable constipation, falls from the dizziness, excessive daytime drowsiness and physical dependence and addiction. A little known fact is that painkillers can lead to depression if they are used for too long because they deplete your dopamine and serotonin. They can also wipe out stores of your memory molecule.
I know a ton about this because I used to work in nursing homes and as “America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist” I have made it my business to educate myself in an effort to help you feel better. So if you’d like to learn how pain medications such as opiates steal your joy and lead to depression, CLICK HERE to read, Some Painkillers and Also Kill Your Pleasure
In closing, beets and beetroot juice can help with pain indirectly by reducing inflammatory chemicals and free radicals, also by increasing methylation and reducing homocysteine. And much more! If you can eat them more frequently, I think it would help you feel better. Here’s a recipe for Zingy Beet Juice that you will enjoy! It includes beets as the main ingredient (for betaine) as well as ginger and apples. CLICK HERE to get it.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.