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Snacking On Raisins Helps
Lower Blood Pressure

Consider Snacking On Raisins To Lower Your Blood Pressure

 Raisins by the handful
People with slightly higher than normal blood pressure  (pre-hypertension)  should consider
eating a bunch of raisins. New data suggest that, among individuals with mild increases in blood pressure, the routine consumption of raisins (three times a day) may significantly lower blood pressure, especially when compared to eating other common snacks, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session. The Scientific Session, the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, brings cardiovascular professionals together to further advances in the field.

Raisins are known to have intrinsic properties that could benefit heart and vascular health, researchers scientifically support raisins' blood pressure-lowering effects compared to alternative snacks. Raisins are naturally high in potassium, fiber, as well as healthful polyphenols, phenolic acid, tannins and antioxidants.

 The researchers explained "Our study suggests if you have a choice between eating raisins or other snacks like crackers and chocolate chip cookies, you may be better off snacking on raisins at least with respect to blood pressure."

In this investigation, the team conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial to compare the blood pressure effect of eating raisins versus other snacks in 46 men and women with prehypertension. Participants were randomly assigned to snack on raisins or prepackaged commercial snacks that did not contain raisins, other fruits or vegetables but had the same number of calories per serving three times a day for 12 weeks. The study controlled for individual differences in nutrition and physical activity.

Data analyses found that compared to other snacks, raisins significantly reduced systolic blood pressure at weeks 4, 8, and 12, ranging from -4.8 to -7.2% or -6.0 to -10.2 mmHg (p values <0.05). Within group analysis demonstrated that raisins significantly reduced mean diastolic blood pressure at all study visits, with changes ranging from -2.4 to -- 5.2 mmHg (p values < 0.05). Pre-packaged snacks (including crackers and cookies) did not significantly reduce systolic or diastolic blood pressure at any study visit.

"Overall, these findings support what many people intrinsically believe: that natural foods often have greater health benefits than processed foods,"
the investigators reported.

"Raisins are packed with potassium, which is known to lower blood pressure," they said. "They are also a good source of antioxidant dietary fiber that may favorably alter the biochemistry of blood vessels, causing them to be less stiff, which in turn, may reduce blood pressure."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in three (28 percent) American adults have prehypertension (defined as a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg) This study's findings help validate some current nutritional recommendations. For example, 60 raisins -- about a handful contain 1 gram of fiber and 212 milligrams of potassium, which are both recommended for maintaining healthy diet.

Story Source:
American College of Cardiology 
Snacking on raisins may offer a heart-
healthy way to lower blood pressure.


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