Nutrition for Heart Health

Food is Medicine

If you would like to tune-up your nutrition game plan. Give our office a call (425) 686-4498 to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can help! 

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Nutrition for Heart Health

Untreated high blood pressure is like a ticking time bomb inside your body, silently increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, stroke, and a host of other life-threatening conditions. Did you know that eating certain foods and having proper nutrition can help heart health and decrease risk of cardiovascular diseases?

Using Food as Medicine

In Chinese Medical Nutrition principles, foods with specific flavors such as bitter and pungent foods, can help heart health. Foods with bitter flavors include romaine lettuce, dandelion, arugula, rye. Foods that combine bitter with pungency include citrus peel, radish, scallion, and white pepper. In contrast, the pungent flavor can help disperse phlegm. Foods that combine bitter with sweet include asparagus, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, quinoa, and papaya. Lemon rind is bitter and sour; vinegar is also bitter and sour.

Nutrition for heart health


Bitter flavors have a yin, or cooling effect, clearing heat in the body while encouraging a descent of Qi, which aids in the draining of fluids. For example, celery contains the phytochemical phthalides which relax arterial wall tissues to increase blood flow and thereby reduce blood pressure. The fiber, magnesium, and potassium in celery also help lower blood pressure and regulate fluid balance.

Check out our previous post on bitter foods here


What does the research say?

Let’s take a key bitter food: tomatoes. One of the key components that may lead to hypertension is oxidative stress. Eating certain foods can help to combat oxidative stress in the body. Tomatoes, in addition to having a bitter property, are also a rich source of licopene, an antioxidant. A recent study showed that tomato supplementation in the hypertensive group showed improvement in antioxidant activities. Suggesting, lycopene, may have beneficial effects in those with hypertension. Another study looked at tomato extract, licopene, and other related products in tomatoes to see how they could affect blood pressure. They found that tomato extract (STE) significantly decreased systolic blood pressure compared to the placebo group. In addition, they found that healthy volunteers in addition to those with documented hypertension also showed a decrease in blood pressure but the blood pressure lowering effect was more pronounced among hypertensive patients.

If you would like to tune-up your nutrition game plan. Give our office a call (425) 686-4498 to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can help!


Kastner, Joseph, MD, L.Ac, (2009) Chinese Nutrition Therapy, Thieme, Stuttgart and New York

Pitchford, Paul (2002), Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California

Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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