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Eat Berries For Lower Blood Pressure

Posted: January 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

A study revealed that anthocyanins found in berries can help lower blood pressure and thus, manage hypertension.

Hypertension is otherwise known as high blood pressure or tensing of the arteries due to high pressure build-up. These arteries enable the transportation of blood from the heart to all the major organs and tissues in our body.  There are multiple causes of hypertension, such as obesity, chronic renal failure, diabetes mellitus type 2, renal infarction and even pregnancy. The normal blood pressure is within the bounds of 120/80, blood pressure ranging to 139/89 is categorized as pre-hypertension, and blood pressure of 140/90 and above is placed on the high category.

Symptoms of hypertension includes chronic headaches that goes on for days, vertigo or dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, double vision or blurry, drowsiness, general fatigue, shortness of breath, and buzzing in the ears commonly known as tinnitus.

Hypertension Management

A treatment for this specific ailment varies but the most efficient cure for hypertension is using a complex approach. It includes patient’s history, age, gravity of the condition, therapy schemes that will concentrate on the ailment’s precise cause. Hypertension curable and it all begins with prevention.  This consists of keeping a healthy weight and lifestyle by avoiding excessive intake of alcohol, smoking cessation, and eating a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. Long ago, hypertension can only be controlled through the use of medications – but not anymore.

More natural forms of treatments are currently being introduced in the market. A study indicates that anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid found in strawberries, blueberries, cherries, purple grapes as well as in vegetables such as purple cabbage and beets, is helpful in alleviating high blood pressure.  According to a research study done by scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and a UK based University of Anglia, multiple intake of anthocyanins reduces the dangers of hypertension by up to 12 percent. Hence, the most important advantage one can get from taking in foods that are rich in anthocyanin is the management of hypertension. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a result of chronic hypertension, and it is known to causes half of Europe’s death, and at the same time tallying Europe’s economy expense around $202 billion per year.

Research Findings

For an average span of 14 years, Harvard’s Eric Rimm led the researchers in gathering data from various subjects, consisting of 133, 914 women, and 23,043 men. Flavonoids and other subcategories were analyzed using questionnaires regarding food frequencies and were distributed every 4 years. An accumulation of 5,629 and 29,018 documented cases of hypertension were tabulated in men and women, correspondingly.

When the figures were finally reported, the researchers discovered that the topmost average consumption that ranges from 16.2 to 12.0 milligrams daily was correlated to an 8 percent reduction to the dangers of hypertension. On the other hand, a 12 percent increase in lowering hypertension risk was tabulated among subjects with ages from 60 and above, as compared to the nethermost consumption of anthocyanins, ranging from 5.7 to 6.8.

While no other subcategories of flavonoids were related to high blood pressure, researchers however, observed that the compound apeginin was linked to a 5 percent decrease in risk. When the maximum and minimum levels of intakes were compared, researchers added that a 6 percent reduction in the dangers of hypertension was noted for subjects over the age of 60 that has the topmost average consumption of flavan-3-ol catechin.  Also an important finding was documented stating that the consumption of blueberries among people of the same age group lessened their risk of hypertension by up to 10 percent compared to those who did not consume any blueberries. Dr. Rimm and his colleagues wrote that the results reinforce the theory that antihypertensive biological activities may be applicable to the processes of vasodilation linked with a particular flavonoid physical attribute.

Key Elements

According to Dr. Rimm and his colleagues, there is an existence of vast flavonoid structural varieties, but the likelihood that it can lower the effects of blood pressure is inadequate with regards to its similar anatomical composites which include the catechol and 4’ hydroxy flavonoids.

In addition, the research findings implies that distinct categories of flavonoids are connected with lowering blood pressure especially anthocyanins.  The data is highly significant due to the fact that anthocyanins are commonly found in blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, fruits that are normally consumed and can be easily added to a person’s dietary needs. Researchers also added that blackcurrants, blood orange juice and blueberries have an additional 500 mg of anthocyanins.

The researchers added, that the fundamental biological process wherein flavonoids helps control blood pressure comprise the influence of flavonoids with regards to the vascular movement of blood, vascular reactivity, and the process of glucose uptake.

However, researchers from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that the research needs additional thorough investigations, which will include intervention analysis to assess the ideal dosage of foods that are rich in anthocyanin that could prevent hypertension and reinforce the recommendation and remedy of hypertension.

Additional Information Regarding Flavonoids

Other than hypertension, anthocyanin, the flavonoid compound is also recognized by countless laboratory researches.

  • Based on findings, anthocyanin is also potent in preventing cancer by delaying the development of pre-malignant cells, hastening apoptosis, which effectively kills cancer cells in a faster rate.
  • It also helps in controlling inflammation by dampening allergic reactions.
  • It also cancels out enzymes that damage the connective tissue and its antioxidant properties blocks oxidants from destroying connective tissue.  Furthermore, it repairs proteins that were damaged in the blood vessel wall.
  • Anthocyanins, at the same time hinders abnormal protein production, a significant importance for diabetic patients, since profuse protein production may lead to retinopathy which takes place when the body tries to repair leaks from damage capillaries.
  • Lastly, anthocyanins may help prevent brain damage. Since the human brain is highly vulnerable to damage by peroxynitrite nitration of tyrosine excess in proteins and enzymes causing neurodegenerative ailments and possible brain trauma. The nitrates impede receptor sites, hence stopping neural growth and restorative processes.  Anthocyanins’ job is to aid the brain by protecting it against neurological diseases.


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