Fruit shown to lower high blood pressure

Dr Manesh Saxena explains new blood pressure injection

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The first of these studies was published in 2013 by a group of researchers from the University of Oslo into the impact of fruit on the blood pressure of smokers. In their conclusion, they wrote that kiwifruit was efficacious at reducing high blood pressure.

They concluded: “Lifestyle modifications to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as blood pressure (BP) and smoking have been emphasised. Fruits and vegetables may modify such risk factors.

“In the kiwifruit group, reductions of 10mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 9mmHg in diastolic blood pressure were observed.”

When researchers and health personnel talk about systolic and diastolic they are talking about the two different types of blood pressure which come together to form one’s overall blood pressure reading.

The NHS defines systolic blood pressure as “the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body” while diastolic blood pressure “is the resistance to the blood flow in the vessels”.

Together, these numbers are used to ascertain a healthy reading. While each person will have an optimum blood pressure combination, the NHS say “high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80)”.

Meanwhile, an “ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg”, said the health provider. When the reading is put through, the diastolic figure will be put on the bottom of the systolic figure.

It is this ideal window that kiwi fruit is believed to help people attain, according to both the first and second studies from the 2010s.

The second study was conducted two years later in 2015 and was also carried out by the University of Oslo, this time on people with mildly elevated blood pressure.

In common with the first study, they also reported that kiwi fruit lowered blood pressure, writing: “Among men and women with moderately elevated BP [blood pressure], intake of three kiwifruits was associated with lower systolic and diastolic 24-hour BP compared with one apple a day. The effect may be regulated by mechanisms other than improvement of endothelial function.”

However, while the fruit of kiwis can be beneficial for lowering high blood pressure, it isn’t the only part of the fruit which has health benefits; the skin is also thought to provide some health benefits.

This is because it has a high level of vitamins and minerals including:
• Fibre
• Folate
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Antioxidants.

So potent is the skin of the kiwi that it can increase the levels of these nutrients by anywhere between 30 and 50 percent.

Although high blood pressure is associated with poor cardiovascular health, it has also been linked to increasing the speed of ageing. A recent paper published by the American Heart Association said it could increase the speed of bone ageing.

Lead author of the study Professor Elizabeth Hennen said: “Bone marrow is where both new bone and new immune cells are produced. We suspect that more pro-inflammatory immune cells in the bone marrow may be leading to damage of the bone and making it weaker.

“By understanding how hypertension contributes to osteoporosis, we may be able to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and better protect people later in life from having fragility fractures and a lower quality of life.”

To come to their conclusion, the authors conducted their experiments on mice, simulating high blood pressure and analysing the impact it had on how they aged.

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