High blood pressure is prevalent in the UK, with more than one in four people living with the condition. It is usually the result of poor lifestyle habits such as consuming too much salt. Overtime, high blood pressure can hike the risk of developing life-threatening health complications. Making certain lifestyle changes can help bring a person’s blood pressure back down to normal levels. A recent study revealed that a popular juice may help to control the condition.
In a study published in Food Science & Nutrition, drinking unsalted tomato juice lowered blood pressure and LDL cholesterol in Japanese adults at risk of cardiovascular disease.
In the study, 184 male and 297 female participants were provided with as much unsalted tomato juice as they wanted throughout one year.
At the end of the study, blood pressure in 94 participants with untreated prehypertension or hypertension dropped significantly: systolic blood pressure lowered from an average of 141.2 to 137.0 mmHg, and diastolic blood pressure lowered from an average of 83.3 to 80.9 mmHg.
LDL cholesterol levels in 125 participants with high cholesterol decreased from an average of 155.0 to 149.9 mg/dL.
These beneficial effects were similar among men and women and among different age groups.
“To the best of our knowledge, the current study is the first to investigate the effects of tomato or tomato product intake on cardiovascular disease risk markers over the course of a year and over a wide age range,” the authors wrote.
Drinking tart Montmorency cherry juice is also proven to lower high blood pressure.
According to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, men with early signs of hypertension – more commonly known as high blood pressure – saw a seven per cent reduction in blood pressure after drinking Montmorency cherry concentrate when compared to drinking a fruit-flavoured cordial.
Significantly, this reduction is comparable to the level achieved by anti-hypertensive medication, revealed the study.
The researchers found that the participants who were given the cherry concentrate saw a peak reduction in their blood pressure of 7 mmHg in the three hours after consuming the drink.
Past studies have shown that a reduction of between 5-6 mmHg over a sustained period has been associated with a 38 per cent reduced risk of stroke and 23 per cent reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Interestingly, those participants with blood pressure levels at the higher end of the scale saw the most benefit.
The greatest improvement in systolic blood pressure occurred when the phenolic acids, protocatechuic and vanillic, within the cherry concentrate reached their peak levels in the plasma.
The researchers believe that these particular compounds are, at least in part, responsible for the reduction.
The NHS also recommended people with high blood pressure cut their salt intake to less than 6g (0.2oz) a day, which is about a teaspoonful.
The health body also advised:
- Eat a low-fat, balanced diet – including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Be active
- Cut down on alcohol
- Lose weight
- Drink less caffeine – found in coffee, tea and cola
- Stop smoking
- Get at least six hours of sleep a night
It added: “You can take these steps today, regardless of whether or not you’re taking blood pressure medicines.
“In fact, by making these changes early on you may be able to avoid needing medicines.”