High blood pressure: Cranberry may improve blood vessel function within hours of intake

High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading

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High blood pressure is diagnosed by measuring the force exerted against arterial walls. This offers some indication a person’s odds of suffering a cardiac event, so keeping abreast of blood pressure readings is encouraged. Diet is understood to be an important precursor for the condition. According to a new study, the addition of cranberries to the diet could significantly improve the dilation of vessels, thereby improving blood flow.

A new study conducted by King College University reported a marked improvement in the heart health of participants who ate 100 grams of cranberries a day.

The ‘significant improvements’ were observed in flow-mediated dilation (FMD), which boosts heart and blood vessel function.

FMD, to term given to the dilation of an artery reduced by blood flow, is an important marker for cardiovascular disease.

The researchers noted: “In this study, we found significant improvements in our primary outcome, changes in endothelial function measured […] at two hours after first consumption.

READ MORE: High blood pressure: High reading can cause ‘life threatening’ hypertensive crisis – sign

“[…] Chronic effects determined fasted one month of daily consumption of cranberry powder as compared to control treatment in a group of healthy men.

“Importantly, different patterns of metabolites predicted a large proportion of the effect.”

The endothelium is a thin membrane that coats the lining of the blood vessels and controls vascular contraction.

It is inextricably linked with blood pressure, with some research showing it becomes increasingly impaired as blood pressure elevates.

Studies have long shown that the polyphenolic compounds of cranberry could contribute to significant improvement in endothelial function, which in turn could bring improvements to blood pressure.

Science Direct explains: “Blood vessels in its inner layer, known as the endothelium, play diverse but key roles in nitric oxide synthesis, which in turn regulates the blood pressure and vascular functions in the human body.”

In previous research published in 2015, researchers have shown that the chronic consumption of cranberries could lead to reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The trial, by the U.S Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, found that systolic and diastolic blood pressure both fell by an average of 3 mm/Hg with two eight-ounce glasses a day for eight weeks.

Researchers speculate that cranberry juice could help reduce blood pressure by means of dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow.

They also attributed some of the blood pressure-lowering effects to vitamin C.

Other health benefits of cranberries

Cranberries have garnered a lot of attention among medical circles for their ability to treat a host of diseases.

According to Harvard Health, “[they] contain several compounds that could confer health benefits, including salicylic acid and plant chemicals called polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties.”

Alongside their benefits for blood vessel function, the fruit may also help improve cholesterol balance and reduce the compound homocysteine.

But cranberries are probably best known for their treatment of urinary tract infections.

This is because it can confer a natural antibacterial benefit that can prevent the bacteria Escherichia coli from binding to the inner surface of the bladder.

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