Common berry juice may lower blood pressure, protect blood vessels

At some point in their lives, many people develop elevated blood pressure, even hypertension and functional disturbances in blood vessels related to inflammation.

In addition to drug therapies, nutrition has a key role in the management of these disorders.

Scientists have shown that polyphenol-rich food reduces the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Lingonberry, bilberry, cranberry, and blackcurrant are excellent sources of polyphenols.

In a recent study, researchers found that long-term drinking of lingonberry juice lowers high blood pressure and improves the function of blood vessels.

The lead author is Anne Kivimäki, MSc in Food Science.

In the study, the team examined the effects of cold-pressed lingonberry juice, cranberry juice and blackcurrant juice as drinking fluid for 8-10 weeks on rats with high blood pressure.

The found that diluted lingonberry juice strongly lowered high blood pressure while juice that contained more polyphenols improved impaired blood vessel function to the level of healthy vessels.

The juice did not prevent the age-related elevation of blood pressure typical to the hypertensive animal strain.

The team says lingonberry juice prevented the expression of genes linked to low-grade inflammation in the aorta. The effect of other berry juices was weaker.

The underlying effect is probably the reduction of low-grade inflammation as well as mechanisms related to the renin-angiotensin system, a central regulator of blood pressure, and the availability of nitric oxide.

The researchers suggest that lingonberry juice is no substitute for medication, but it is a good dietary supplement.

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