London, Jan 5 (PTI) Researchers have found that long-term consumption of lingonberry juice may lower high blood pressure and improves the function of blood vessels, an advance that may lead to new dietary recommendations for the chronic disease.
According to the researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland, food rich in the group of chemicals called polyphenols can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In the current study, the scientists found that lingonberry, bilberry, cranberry and blackcurrant are excellent sources of polyphenols.
Anne Kivimaki, who studies Food Science at the University of Helsinki, investigated the cardiovascular effects of cold-pressed lingonberry juice, cranberry juice, and blackcurrant juice as drinking fluid for 8-10 weeks on genetically hypertensive rats (SHR).
They found that diluted lingonberry juice significantly lowered high blood pressure, while juice that contained more polyphenols improved impaired blood vessel function to the level of healthy vessels.
However, the researchers said the juice did not prevent the age-related elevation of blood pressure.
On further analysis, Kivimaki and her team found that lingonberry juice prevented the expression of genes associated with low-grade inflammation in the aorta.
Other berry juices, they said, were less marked in their effects.
The researchers speculate that the effect is probably caused by the reduction of low-grade inflammation, as well as mechanisms related to the renin-angiotensin hormone system, which is a central regulator of blood pressure.
'These experimental findings need evidence from comparative clinical studies on healthy individuals with slightly elevated blood pressure who, at this point, have been given nutritional and lifestyle guidance instead of drug therapy. Lingonberry juice is no substitute for medication, but it is a good dietary supplement,' Kivimaki said. PTI VIS AD