NORTHUMBRIA, England, Thursday May 12, 2016 – A new study has found that drinking cherry juice is as effective as taking conventional drugs in reducing blood pressure.
Volunteers who consumed 60ml of cherry concentrate diluted with water experienced a seven percent drop in blood pressure within three hours – enough to slash the risk of a stroke by 38 percent or heart disease by 23 percent.
According to scientists at Britain’s Northumbria University, patients who take blood pressure medication experience a similar effect.
If left untreated, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, stroke and dementia.
The research team tested 15 volunteers who were displaying early signs of high blood pressure.
The participants were given either 60ml of a Montmorency cherry concentrate diluted with 100ml of water, or the same volume of a fruit flavoured placebo drink.
The researchers found that the volunteers who were given the cherry concentrate saw their peak blood pressure drop seven percent further than those who drank the placebo.
The research team believe that cherry juice has such a strong impact on blood pressure because it is rich in phenolic acids – a type of naturally-occurring antioxidant.
They found that the greatest improvement in blood pressure occurred when two phenolic acids – protocatechuic and vanillic acid – reached peak levels in the volunteers’ blood.
Study leader Karen Keane said: “The majority of cardiovascular disease is caused by risk factors that can be controlled, treated or modified.
“These include 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 anti-hypertensive drug and highlights the potential importance that Montmorency cherries could have in the effective management of high blood pressure.”
Co-author Professor 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.”
The study was funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute in the US and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.