High blood pressure lowers significantly after drinking tart Montmorency cherry juice

May 5, 2016, Northumbria University

Drinking tart Montmorency cherry juice significantly reduces high blood pressure at a level comparable to that achieved by medication, according to new research from Northumbria University, Newcastle.

The findings, which are published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition today (Wednesday 4 May), found that men with early signs of hypertension - more commonly known as high blood pressure - saw a 7% reduction in blood pressure after drinking Montmorency cherry concentrate when compared to drinking a fruit-flavoured cordial.

This reduction is comparable to the level achieved by anti-hypertensive .

High blood pressure affects over five million people in England and, if left untreated, increases risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia. Normal blood pressure is around 120/80 mmHg.

Researchers from Northumbria University's Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation worked with fifteen participants who were displaying early hypertension with blood pressure readings of at least 130/90 mmHg, meaning they were at higher risk of experiencing cardiovascular related problems.

They were told that the study was to investigate the effect of a fruit on vascular function and were given either 60ml of a Montmorency cherry concentrate or the same amount of a commercially available fruit-flavoured cordial.

Blood pressure and blood samples were taken before the cherry concentrate was consumed and blood pressure was measured on an hourly basis thereafter. Blood samples and a series of other cardiovascular screening tests were taken again on a regular basis over the following eight hours.

The researchers found that the participants who were given the cherry concentrate saw a peak reduction in their blood pressure of 7 mmHg in the three hours after consuming the drink.

Past studies have shown that a reduction of between 5-6 mmHg over a sustained period has been associated with a 38% reduced risk of stroke and 23% reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Interestingly, those participants with blood pressure levels at the higher end of the scale saw the most benefit.

The greatest improvement in systolic blood pressure occurred when the phenolic acids, protocatechuic and vanillic, within the cherry concentrate reached their peak levels in the plasma. The researchers believe that these particular compounds are, at least in part, responsible for the reduction.

Lead author and Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition, Karen Keane, explained: "The majority of cardiovascular disease is caused by risk factors that can be controlled, treated or modified, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, tobacco use, lack of physical activity and diabetes. Raised blood pressure is the leading cause of deaths from cardiovascular disease, yet relatively small reductions in blood pressure can have a large impact on mortality rates.

"The magnitude of the blood pressure lowering effects we observed was comparable to those achieved by a single anti-hypertensive drug and highlights the potential importance that Montmorency cherries could have in the effective management of ."

Prof. Glyn Howatson, research leader and Professor in Human and Applied Physiology, added: "This is the first study to investigate the acute effects of Montmorency tart cherry consumption on , arterial stiffness and microvascular vasodilation in males with early . This exciting set of data complements a growing body of research to show that eating the right sorts of foods can provide potential health benefits.

"We believe these benefits might be linked to the combined actions of some of the plant compounds within the Montmorency concentrate and the positive impact they exert on vascular function."

In recent years Northumbria University has undertaken a number of studies into the health benefits of tart Montmorency cherry concentrate. Northumbria researchers have found that drinking the concentrate improves the quality and quantity of sleep. It also significantly reduces the symptoms associated with the painful condition of gout and enhances the recovery of muscle function after intense exercise, probably thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.

Northumbria University had the biggest increase in research power of any university in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, with research judged to be 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' in all areas submitted.

Explore further: Study shows impact of Montmorency tart cherries on inflammation and oxidative stress after high-intensity cycling

Related Stories

Study shows impact of Montmorency tart cherries on inflammation and oxidative stress after high-intensity cycling

June 2, 2014
Cyclists who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate before a three-day simulated race experienced less inflammation and oxidative stress compared to those who drank another beverage, according to a recent U.K. study ...

Montmorency tart cherry juice lowered blood uric acid levels and a marker for inflammation

October 1, 2014
Tart cherries have long been researched for their association with pain relief – ranging from gout and arthritis joint pain to exercise-related muscle pain. A new study published in the Journal of Functional Foods is the ...

New study reveals Montmorency tart cherry juice accelerated recovery after intense cycling

December 15, 2014
Cyclists who are preparing for race day may have a new sports drink to give them an edge in recovery: tart cherry juice. A new study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that Montmorency tart cherry ...

Treat 'normal' blood pressure to save lives, study urges

December 24, 2015
Millions of lives could be saved by giving blood pressure-lowering drugs to people at risk of heart attack and stroke, even if they have normal pressure, researchers said Thursday.

Tart cherry juice reduced post-race respiratory tract symptoms after a marathon

June 25, 2015
While previous research suggests tart cherry juice may help aid muscle recovery after extensive exercise, a new pilot study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that Montmorency ...

Lower systolic blood pressure reduces risk of hypertension complication

October 13, 2015
Lowering systolic blood pressure below the currently recommended target can reduce the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), the most common complication of high blood pressure, according to new research.

Recommended for you

Mice make over four times as many new heart muscle cells when they exercise, study finds

April 25, 2018
Doctors, health organizations, and the Surgeon General all agree that exercise is good for the heart—but the reasons why are still not well understood.

Consuming protein supplements with meals may work better for weight control

April 25, 2018
A new systematic review of available evidence appearing in Nutrition Reviews indicates that consuming protein supplements with meals may be more effective at promoting weight control than consuming supplements between meals ...

Potential for sun damage should be carefully balanced with need for vitamin D in children, say scientists

April 24, 2018
Scientists at King's College London are encouraging parents and carers to ensure even more rigorous protection of children against the harmful effects of the sun. The comments follow a study which has suggested that children ...

Millennials aren't getting the message about sun safety and the dangers of tanning

April 24, 2018
Many millennials lack knowledge about the importance of sunscreen and continue to tan outdoors in part because of low self-esteem and high rates of narcissism that fuel addictive tanning behavior, a new study from Oregon ...

Heart disease may only be a matter of time for those with healthy obesity

April 24, 2018
People who are 30 pounds or more overweight may want to slim down a bit even if they don't have high blood pressure or any other heart disease risk, according to scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

A wearable device intervention to increase exercise in peripheral artery disease

April 24, 2018
A home-based exercise program, consisting of wearable devices and telephone coaching, did not improve walking ability for patients with peripheral artery disease, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

sbirdette
not rated yet May 05, 2016
This is also true of hibiscus tea.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.