Drinking fruit juice helps to lower systolic blood pressure, and a glass a day may help protect against hypertension – a key risk factor for heart attack and stroke, a new study has reported.
Researchers from the University of Toronto analysed 93 previous studies assessing 12 different sugar-containing foods to help understand how dietary choices impact blood pressure.
The report, published in the PLOS ONE journal, found that moderate consumption of fruit juice led to average “small important reductions” of -3.7 mmHg in systolic blood pressure – the pressure inside arteries when the heart is beating. In contrast, the equivalent sugar intake from a mix of sugar sources including sugar-sweetened drinks resulted in an average increase in systolic blood pressure of 6.9 mmHg.
The study found the greatest benefits to blood pressure were seen at long term intakes of 50-150 ml daily which is just one small glass.
Having high blood pressure over time can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke1 and the Office of National Statistics estimates that around a third of adults in England have undiagnosed hypertension.2
The protective effect of 100% fruit juice on blood pressure is likely due to nutrients and bio-compounds which are found in fruit, researchers said. Eating whole fruit, which also contains fibre, had an even bigger benefit.
The study supports previous evidence that drinking a daily glass of 100% fruit juice a day is linked to lower blood pressure. The findings show that public health guidelines aimed at helping people prevent and manage high blood pressure should differentiate between natural and added sugars, the report said.
The paper, by lead author Professor John Sievenpiper, said: “Our research indicates benefit on blood pressure from moderate intakes of 100% fruit juice which contains only natural sugars.
“The available evidence provides a good indication that fruit and 100% fruit juice at low doses leads to small important reductions in blood pressure.”
The Fruit Juice Science Centre provides evidence-based information to consumers, journalists and healthcare professionals on the role of 100% fruit juice in diets and health https://fruitjuicesciencecentre.eu