A Miracle Fruit to Combat High Blood Pressure?
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Many of us have heard this saying, right? However, a group of researchers are now saying otherwise.
In adults with mildly elevated levels of blood pressure, a daily serving of kiwi can help reduce numbers according to a study funded by the Oslo University Hospital.
The study led by Dr. Mette Svendsen involved 68 women & 50 men averaging 55 years of age, and aimed to compare the heart health benefits of kiwis versus apples.
Test subjects had blood pressure levels in the mildly elevated range of 128/85 (versus 120/80 which is considered ideal) when the study started, and each of them was randomly assigned to either eat an apple or three kiwis a day for two months (changing nothing in their diet other than adding the fruit).
Researchers measured blood pressure via 24-hour ambulatory monitoring and found that those who ate three kiwi fruits a day improved their 24-hour blood pressure more than those who had added an apple to their diet instead.
A word of caution
Cardiologists have quickly cautioned the public that there is no single “magic” solution that is considered the key to heart health. Instead, it is important to keep in mind that the kiwi fruit may simply be incorporated within the five daily servings of fruit and vegetables that are already being recommended by experts for individuals with hypertension.
One challenge with the kiwi fruit is its availability.
"They are not easy to find or one of those fruits that people readily grab," says Dr. Nehal Mehta, preventive cardiologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Also, Dr. Mehta stresses the importance of moderation.
"Don't count on this to be the complete answer to high blood pressure," says Dr. Elliott M. Antman, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Do not stop taking your blood pressure medications without talking to your doctor," Dr. Antman remarks, adding that while it looks promising, the study is small.
Both lifestyle and dietary choices are important in keeping blood pressure numbers healthy.
Aside from regular physical activity & cutting back on salt, simply knowing which foods contribute to high blood pressure—and avoiding them, is crucial.
Avoiding foods & beverages like trans/saturated fats, refined/processed grains/carbs, processed meats, fried foods, sodas and alcoholic beverages are crucial for preventing high blood pressure.
Heart-friendly foods that you should incorporate more of to your diet include leafy greens, raw garlic, low-fat dairy products, berries and beetroot.
Again, high blood pressure is a chronic medical condition in which your lifestyle choices are crucial.