High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most common ailments, affecting about one in three Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can make you more likely to develop life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke. However, cherry juice may help to keep your blood pressure within normal levels and protect you from more serious conditions.
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Cherry Juice Benefits
Cherry juice is a very rich source of anthocyanins, which are antioxidant compounds that help to neutralize free radicals, or unstable oxygen molecules. Free radicals can damage your blood vessels, leading to increases in blood pressure. High levels of inflammation can also cause high blood pressure. That can damage your kidneys, which play a role in controlling blood pressure.
At the Experimental Biology meeting in 2011, researchers from the University of Michigan, University of Arizona and Brunswick labs presented their findings on cherries and cardiovascular health. In three studies, they found that cherries significantly lowered levels of inflammation, and they attributed this benefit to the anthocyanins that give cherries their red color. Cherries also helped overweight and obese participants to lose weight and body fat, two factors that can increase blood pressure.
Cherries are members of the Rosaceae family and are classified into two groups — Prunus avium L., or sweet cherry, and Prunus cerasus L., which is the tart or sour cherry commonly used in cooking. They come in many varieties and some of the most popular in the United States are Bing, Montmorency, Rainier and Lambert. Regardless of which variety you choose, you will be able to take advantage of their antioxidant-rich juice to help treat blood pressure.
If you have risk factors for high blood pressure such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, high-fat diet, cigarette smoking or diabetes, consult your doctor for a diagnosis. High blood pressure should be treated under the guidance of a doctor. When drinking cherry juice to help regulate your blood pressure, choose low-sugar varieties or make your own juice at home from fresh cherries.