“The best way to reduce blood pressure is regular exercise and weight loss but many things in the diet can help,” said Mark Gilbert, Commercial Nutritionist at The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan. “One food that has been specifically studied for weight loss is orange juice and specifically a flavonoid found in orange juice, called hesperidin.”
Apart from this plant goodie, the popular juice is also “particularly high” in potassium, according to Blood Pressure UK.
And this mineral is known for its blood pressure lowering effects.
Consuming more foods rich in potassium helps restore the balance of this mineral and sodium, which consequently helps to lower your hypertension reading.
Plus, there’s research backing the promising effects of the refreshing drink.
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A research paper, published in the journal ARYA Atherosclerosis, found that the fruit drink was able to lower hypertension in healthy volunteers.
The study set out to investigate the benefits of orange juice on blood pressure levels in 22 participants.
They were asked to drink 500 millilitres of either natural or commercial juice a day with their breakfast and dinner.
Following this regimen for four weeks, the researchers noticed that the participants’ diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels “significantly” decreased.
Systolic pressure describes the pressure that occurs when your heart pushes blood out, while diastolic is the pressure when your heart rests between beats.
However, the expert shared that other studies, looking at the juice, didn’t show such promising results.
Mr Gilbert said: “Studies on this topic have shown different results over the years.
“For instance, a review of 19 high-quality studies showed a significant effect on diastolic blood pressure.
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“However, a more recent but smaller review concluded that there is no effect.”
He suggested that your genetics might play a role in determining what benefits can be reaped.
The expert said: “Interestingly, as with many interventions, there may be a substantial genetic influence to this effect, meaning that some people benefit from orange juice and others don’t.
“In a recent study, when subjects drank OJ for 60 days and had their blood tested for breakdown products of hesperidin and other flavonoids, the ones who could metabolise and break the flavonoids down in their liver more effectively showed a significant reduction in blood pressure, whilst the other subjects did not.
“An added bonus here was that those subjects also lost body fat.
“So whether a natural chemical in orange juice lowers blood pressure in some people or whether those who get a fat-loss effect from orange juice get the blood pressure benefits of weight loss is not known but regardless, the outcome seems to be positive.”
It’s difficult to draw conclusions on the breakfast drink as the studies offer mixed results, however, reaching for foods and drinks with potassium seems to be helpful.
Blood Pressure UK recommends opting for a range of foods rich in this mineral.
Some fruits and veg high in potassium include:
- Tomato juice and tomato puree
- Orange juice
- Sweet potatoes
Other interventions that could help lower your blood pressure reading are exercise, healthy weight and cutting back on salt.