Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, targets around one in three adults in England, according to Blood Pressure UK.
This high prevalence is concerning because hypertension can lay a harmful groundwork to heart attacks and strokes.
Fortunately, you can tame your blood pressure reading through your dietary choices.
A new study, published in the PLOS ONE journal, suggests it could be as easy as enjoying a small glass of fruit juice.
Whether you prefer orange or apple, the sweet beverage can keep your blood pressure in check as long as you go for the 100 percent option.
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Based on 93 previous studies, the new research assessed 12 different sugar-containing foods to help understand how dietary choices impact hypertension.
The research team from the University of Toronto found that moderate consumption of fruit juice led to average “small important reductions”.
The juice that contained only natural sugar was able to shave off 3.7mmHg of systolic blood pressure, the pressure inside arteries when the heart is beating.
The reason why the popular drink can positively influence hypertension comes down to its vitamin and flavonoid content, which offer a protective effect on the cardiovascular system and can reduce inflammation.
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On the flip side, the equivalent sugar intake from a mix of sugar sources including cola resulted in an average increase in systolic blood pressure of 6.9mmHg.
The greatest benefits to blood pressure were linked to long-term intakes of 50 to 150 ml daily glass of the fruit beverage.
However, eating whole fruit, which also contains fibre, had an even bigger benefit.
Furthermore, enjoying fruits could make you less likely to suffer from tooth decay.
Overall, the study supports previous evidence that drinking a daily glass of 100 percent fruit juice daily could reduce a blood pressure reading.
The findings show that public health guidelines aimed at helping people prevent and manage hypertension should differentiate between natural and added sugars, the researchers explained.
The lead author Professor John Sievenpiper said: “Our research indicates benefit on blood pressure from moderate intakes of 100 percent fruit juice which contains only natural sugars.
“The available evidence provides a good indication that fruit and 100 percent fruit juice at low doses leads to small important reductions in blood pressure.”
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