Garden goodness for hypertension and diabetes

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Vietnam is a tropical country with a bounty of cheap fruit and vegetables year-round. Much of this abundant produce like á»›t xanh (green capsicum), apple, bitter melon, celery, cucumber and avocado aids in the treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Green capsicum

Few people know that green capsicum, which is cultivated around the resort town of Da Lat in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, is rich in protein, calcium, sugar, phosphor, iron, vitamins A, B1, B2 and PP, and especially Vitamin C. The various chemicals in green capsicum encourage the gastric glands to secrete enzymes, and they also aid in excretion, so it's an excellent fruit for the gut from start to finish. In addition, green capsicum stimulates the heart, improves blood circulation, and inhibits fat agglomeration. What's more, the hot and pungent fruit warms a cold stomach, eases indigestion, and stops vomiting and dysentery.


"˜An apple a day keeps the doctor away' goes the saying. That's because apples are full of fructose, antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber, malic and tannic acids, calcium, phosphor, iron, pectin, good lipids, and even protein. They are also rich in potassium, which helps the body secrete sodium, so apples are excellent for people with hypertension. Practitioners of oriental medicine recommend apples for fortifying the spleen, treating nausea, easing constipation and coughing, and generally cooling an overheated body. In addition, apples stop diarrhea, their fiber and natural acids stimulate bowel and soften fecal stools. And they are low on calories.

Bitter melon

Plenty of essential nutrients for the body are found in bitter melon: calcium, phosphor, iron, beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, PP, C, and many kinds of amino acids. Analysis has shown that bitter melon contains an insulin-like chemical that reduces blood sugar and treats diabetes. This cold and bitter fruit tones the blood and liver, improves eyesight, cools and detoxifies the body, eases swelling, and can be used to treat sunstroke, fever, diarrhea, enteritis and dysentery. It also helps with indigestion, constipation, malaria, boils and toothache.


Another fruit full of goodness (yes, it's a fruit), the humble cucumber contains calcium, phosphor, iron, potassium, sodium, manganese, magnesium, silica, amino acids, aromatic substances, vitamins A, B1, B2, PP and C, and lots of fiber. Cool and sweet cucumber reduces swelling, acts as a diuretic, and as a demulcent to soothe an irritated membrane. It also cools an overheated body.


This cousin of cinnamon contains protein, lutein and other carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, zinc, calcium, magnesium, sodium and phosphor. The fruit also has 60 percent more potassium than bananas, which makes it an ideal food for people with high blood pressure.

Studies have shown that a high intake of avocado lowers cholesterol in the blood. By weight, it is 15 percent monounsaturated fat, which helps reduce triglyceride levels, control blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and enhance the action of insulin. The oleic acid in avocado lowers the risk of diabetes, arteriosclerosis and other cardiovascular disease.


Studies have shown that celery can markedly lower blood pressure depending on the amount ingested. It also whets the appetite, stimulates blood circulation, tones the brain, cools the body, and releases sputum. Celery contains twice as much protein as most other vegetables and is rich in free amino acids, attar, mannitol, inositol, calcium, iron and phosphor.

To make a delicious meal suitable for someone with hypertension, heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan and throw in 100g of sliced lean pork, then add one egg, 200g mung bean sprouts and 200g sliced celery and keep cooking until the pork is tender. Serve hot.

In every fruit and vegetable, the most nutrients are found in and just under the skin. So, for example, it is better to eat a whole apple rather than juice it. Same with cucumber. Of course, the skin of an avocado tastes awful and should be discarded, but only after the inside has been thoroughly scraped to get all the goodness of the fruit.

A final word of caution: While the produce mentioned above can help prevent and treat high blood pressure and diabetes, each fruit or vegetable should be taken in moderation, preferably once every four days.

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