High blood pressure may be lowered by drinking cherry juice. The study found a seven percent reduction in blood pressure after participants consumed tart Montmorency cherry concentrate, in comparison to drinking a fruit-flavored beverage.
A growing problem worldwide, high blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is associated with various complications including kidney damage and dementia. Ideal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg, which often can be achieved through healthy lifestyle interventions.
For the study, the researchers looked at 15 participants with blood pressure readings of at least 130/90 mm Hg, which is an indicator of a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The participants consumed either tart Montmorency cherry concentrate or a fruit-flavored beverage.
Blood pressure and blood samples were taken prior to the juice consumption and then every hour after consumption. Cardiovascular screening tests were taken on a regular basis during the overnight hours.
Those who consumed the cherry juice saw blood pressure reduction of seven mm Hg after three hours of consumption. Those with higher blood pressure readings saw the greatest reductions.
Lead author Karen Keane explained, “The majority of cardiovascular disease is caused by risk factors that can be controlled, treated, or modified, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and diabetes. Raised blood pressure is the leading cause of deaths from cardiovascular disease, yet relatively small reductions in blood pressure can have a large impact on mortality rates.”
“The magnitude of the blood pressure lowering effects we observed was comparable to those achieved by a single antihypertensive drug and highlights the potential importance that Montmorency cherries could have in the effective management of high blood pressure,” Keane added.
Research leader Prof. Glyn Howatson added, “This is the first study to investigate the acute effects of Montmorency tart cherry consumption on blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and microvascular vasodilation in males with early hypertension. This exciting set of data complements a growing body of research to show that eating the right sorts of foods can provide potential health benefits. We believe these benefits might be linked to the combined actions of some of the plant compounds within the Montmorency concentrate and the positive impact they exert on vascular function.”
Functional foods are products that have a medical benefit and can lead to good health – and cherries are among these foods.
While some foods can harm the body, functional foods can repair it. For instance, foods such as liver, anchovies, and chocolate can increase uric acid in your body, causing gout. Studies show drinking cherry juice is a good way to supplement gout treatment. In the last decade, research into functional foods has soared.
Cherry juice has also been noted for its antioxidant content which helps improve circulation and promote proper nerve function. The antioxidant benefits of cherry juice have been published in the Journal of Nutrition. These antioxidants can be found in other common fruits and vegetables, including raspberries, cranberries, and red onions.
Other benefits of cherry juice include improving post-workout recovery, fighting inflammation, and reducing arthritis pain and swelling, boosting immunity, regulating metabolism, and improving sleep. Research has shown cherry juice protects the body from damage brought on by bad cholesterol.
Critics warn people not to suddenly load up on cherries. They say just like fruits and vegetables, not all cherries are created alike. Certain cherries have the antioxidant properties that can promote good health, but not all. There happens to be hundreds of varieties of cherries. Another point to consider is how the cherry juice is prepared. Fruits and vegetables can be good for you, but once you cover them is butter or sauce, they are no longer functional foods really. The same rings true for cherries. Some cherry juice varieties can be high in sugar and calories, causing a detrimental effect. Nutritionists often suggest that their clients drink pure black cherry juice with no additives or preservatives. It can be found in most health food stores, along with pure juices made from other fruits and vegetables. It can be extremely bitter, so you simply add some water before drinking it.