If you want to control your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, you should try Montmorency tart cherry juice, according to a study published in Food & Function.
Researchers at the University of Delaware found that cherry juice can help protect heart health.
They found that older people who drank tart cherry juice made from U.S. grown Montmorency tart cherries had lower systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol levels
Currently, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States.
High systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) and elevated LDL cholesterol are both big risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
In the study, 34 men and women (ages 65-80) were assigned to one of two groups for the 12-week.
One group drank 480ml (or about 2 cups) of Montmorency tart cherry juice from concentrate each day, half in the morning and a half in the evening.
The other group drank the same amount of a placebo drink – a cherry flavored beverage that had a similar color and the same amount of calories but was devoid of tart cherries and specifically excluded polyphenols.
The participants, who were unaware of their group assignment, were asked to maintain their regular diet and physical activity habits throughout the study.
The team measured their blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels at the beginning of the study and again at the end of the 12-week trial.
At the end of the 12-week study, people drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice showed large decreases in systolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol compared to those drinking the control beverage.
Montmorency tart cherry juice reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.1 mmHg, from 141.4 mmHg to 137.3 mmHg – which is no longer considered “high.”
This is important because a reduction of just 2 mmHg could reduce stroke-related deaths by 6% and deaths related to heart disease by 4%.
The people drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice also had lower levels of total cholesterol and higher levels of blood sugar and triglycerides.
Despite the increase in blood sugar levels, their insulin sensitivity, a risk factor for diabetes, did not increase.
in addition, neither tart cherry juice nor the control beverage significantly altered body weight, HDL or “good” cholesterol, insulin levels or diastolic blood pressure.
The authors concluded that the improvements were seen in LDL cholesterol and systolic blood pressure may help maintain heart health.
The authors say future work should check if the results are influenced by various factors, such as sample size, the duration of the study and the self-reporting of diet and physical activity.
And more research is needed to determine the impact of Montmorency tart cherry as a plausible intervention for improved cardiovascular health for older adults.
Montmorency tart cherries are the most common variety of tart cherries grown in the U.S. and are available year-round in dried, frozen, canned, juice and concentrated forms.
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