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November 25, 2011

Kiwi Can Effectively Lower Blood Pressure

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a well-known belief that is accepted by many people around the world; however, scientists now prove that eating three kiwis daily can effectively lower blood pressure. A research team, led by Mette Svendsen at Oslo University Hospital in Norway, recently presented its findings at American Heart Association scientific meeting in Florida, the United States.

According to the fact sheets released by World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease (CVD), also being popularly recognized as heart disease, is the top one leading cause of death and disability throughout the world. WHO also indicates that about 17.3 million people died from heart diseases in 2008, and the number of death caused by heart diseases will be increased to 23.6 million by 2030. Among all common causes of heart diseases like diabetes, smoking, and obesity, high blood pressure is considered a major risk factor.

Kiwi is known to contain a substance named lutein, an antioxidant which is good for our health. In order to evaluate kiwi’s effectiveness of lowering blood pressure, researchers studied on 50 male as well as 68 female participants with mildly high blood pressure and an average age of 55. Researchers split these 118 subjects into an equal number of two groups: one added three kiwis to their daily nutrition for eight weeks and the other added an apple a day. All participants’ blood pressures were recorded at the beginning of this study. Systolic pressure, which is a maximum pressure, is the top number of the blood pressure reading. After eight weeks, researchers measured those participants’ blood pressures again and found that the kiwi eaters’ 24-hour systolic blood pressure was an average of 3.6 millimeters of mercury, significantly lower than that of the apple group.

Although lower diastolic blood pressure (a minimum pressure) was also found in the kiwi group, the correlation between the fruit and diastolic pressure was not as clear. Larger studies are still needed to confirm whether if incorporating kiwi as a part of a daily nutritional plan could effectively treat high blood pressure.