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Fruits and Juice No Longer Tied to Lower Blood Pressure, One Study Reports

Update Date: Apr 12, 2013 11:07 AM EDT
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Doctors have always encouraged people to eat their daily values of fruits and vegetables due to the health benefits of these food groups. Previous studies have suggested that vegetable and fruits can contribute to lowering blood pressure. According to a new research study, vegetables might have these health benefits but for fruits, the extent of their role in lowering blood pressure is unclear. Based from findings, the study's head author, Dr. Linda Oude-Griep, who is from the Imperial College London School of Public Health, stated that raw fruits and juice might not help lower blood pressure.

The research team evaluated that data compiled from another study made up of 4,680 middle-aged men and women. These participants were randomly selected from China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The participants were asked to record what they ate the day before for two days straight. They were asked to repeat this process after three weeks. During the two sets, the participants had their blood pressure measured, with the average blood pressure at 120/80. The researchers measured the individual's intake of fruit and fruit juices and measured it at grams per 1000 calories of consumed foods. They found that American participants ate the least amount of raw fruits, with an average of 52 grams per 1000 calories, which is equivalent to about half an apple. Chinese participants consumed the most amounts of raw fruits with 68 grams per 1,000 calories. Fruit juice was not popular in the Asian countries.

The researchers used the data to compare raw fruit consumption and fruit juice to blood pressure, and they found no relationship between the two factors. The researchers found that when they only looked into the effects or raw fruit intake in China and Japan, blood pressure levels actually increased. The researchers concluded that eating raw fruits do not have any effects in lowing blood pressure. However, Oude-Griep acknowledged that there were many limiting factors of the study, such as the sample size and diet. The participant's daily diets and exercise habits were not taken into account.

"The main limitation of this study id that dietary intake was assessed on only a single day, and that is not a good representation of a person's usual diet," Dr. Walter Willett commented about the study. Dr. Willett believes that previous studies proving that raw fruits help with blood pressure are more reliable than Oude-Griep's recent study.

Although Oude-Griep's findings showed that fruits might not lower blood pressure, there are still other benefits of fruits, and that people should not stop consuming raw fruits.

The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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