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A-Z of Cardio: Pomegranate

Monday December 24, 2018
A-Z of Cardio: Pomegranate

One quarter of the UK population have high blood pressure (hypertension)(1). Evidence shows hypertension puts you at greater risk of cardiovascular related disorders and has the potential to be fatal.  

Modern lifestyles have been attributed to the increase in hypertension. The change in working environments, food industry and home life has contributed to an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

 

Consequences of current lifestyles:   

- low intakes of fruit and vegetables  

- Increased processed food  

- Increased salt

- low fibre  

- Highly heated fats

- Refined carbohydrates

- Low exercise levels

- Poor sleeping patterns  

- Increased stress

Blood pressure is recorded via two numbers, systolic pressure (force of which blood is pumped around the body) and diastolic pressure (resting pressure):

 

High blood pressure: 140/90mmhg >        Ideal Blood Pressure:  90/60mmhg – 120/80mmhg(1)

 

A variety of natural methods to reduce hypertension have been heavily researched, pomegranate is one of those hailed methods.  

The Pomegranate tree is said to have resided in the garden of Eden and has been used in various cultures as a form of natural medicine.(2) Pomegranate juice has been discovered to exhibit a variety of antioxidative compounds, mainly tannins known as, ellagic tannins, anthocyanins, catechins, gallic and ellagic acid all demonstrating positive benefits that support the cardiovascular system.(3) 

A study undertaken by Aviram and Dornfield established a 5% reduction in systolic blood pressure after 50ml of pomegranate juice daily for 14 days(2).

A longer-term study in patients with carotid artery stenosis (narrowing of the Lumen in the carotid artery, caused by atherosclerosis) by Aviram et, al looked at the impact pomegranate juice had on systolic blood pressure. 10 patients started the trial completing 1 year with 5 continuing for 3 years. A 21% reduction in systolic blood pressure was shown after 1 year with no further reductions in the 3 years.

Furthermore, a systematic review by Bell-Stowe, concluded that pomegranate juice is an effective nutrient in atherosclerotic and hypertensive cases due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capability’s. Pomegranate juice as a preventative measure, alongside appropriate lifestyle choices can aid in reducing the economic burden of hypertension.(3)

 

Pomegranate can be used alongside a healthful diet either in juice or supplement form, for more personalised nutritional advise visit your local health food store.

 

Author: Phil Beard is a Technical Educator at Viridian Nutrition. He holds a MSc in Nutrition and Health.


References:

1) National Health Service. (2016). Overview: High blood pressure (hypertension). Available: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/. Last accessed 03/10/2018.

2) 1) Aviram, M. Dornfield, L. (2001). Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis. 158 (1), 195-198.

3) 2) Bell-Stowe, C. (2011). The effects of pomegranate juice consumption on blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 17 (2), 113-115.

 

4) Aviram, M. osenblat, M. Gaitini, D. Nitecki, S. Hoffman, A. Dornfield, L. Volkova, N. Presser, D. (2004). Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clinical Nutrition. 23 (3), 423-433.  


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

 

TAGS: Nutrition News and ViewsCardiovascular health, Cardio

 

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