Chris Evans reveals his wife gave him a blood pressure monitor
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Eating berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, could decrease the risk of hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure) by eight percent, according to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The large research study involved more than 34,000 people who already had elevated blood pressure. Blueberries and strawberries contain anthocyanin compounds that “may contribute to the prevention of hypertension”, the researchers concluded.
Does this mean that blueberries and strawberries are the best fruits to lower your blood pressure reading?
Well, they can certainly help – and research from the University of Reading can attest to this.
More than 25,000 people in Norfolk, UK, had their diets and blood pressure monitored.
The researchers measured flavanol intake – a compound found in berries –by using nutritional biomarkers (from blood samples).
There were marked differences in the group of people who had the lowest flavanol levels compared to the group with the highest flavanol levels.
The difference in blood pressure readings between the two groups averaged around 3mmHg.
“Notably, the effect was more pronounced in participants with hypertension,” added the researchers.
Professor Gunter Kuhnle, a nutritionist at the University of Reading who led the study, commented on the findings.
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“We are delighted to see that in our study, there was a meaningful and significant association between flavanol consumption and lower blood pressure.”
And berries aren’t the only fruit to contain flavanols, apples do too.
Bananas can also be a useful fruit when it comes to bringing down blood pressure levels.
The American Heart Association certified that foods rich in potassium – like bananas – “are important in managing high blood pressure”.
This is because potassium lessons the effects of sodium (i.e. salt), which is notorious for increasing blood pressure readings.
“Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure,” added the American Heart Association.
There is a caveat, however, when it comes to incorporating more potassium into your diet.
People who have kidney disease should speak to their GP before consuming more bananas, for example, as excess potassium can be harmful.
Other potassium-rich fruits include:
- Honeydew melon
- Prunes (i.e. dried plums)
- Raisins (i.e. dried grapes)
In the Journal of Hypertension, kiwi fruit was also shown to lower blood pressure.
Participants involved in the research study received three kiwifruits daily.
After the eight-week intervention, the kiwi group had reductions of 10mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 9mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.
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