Can Grapes Save Your Life?
Hypertension is widely considered as a “silent killer” because many individuals are unaware of their high blood pressure, and its link to cardiovascular disease and heart-related deaths. Lowering ones blood pressure just 2 mmHg could reduce the risk of a deadly stroke by as much as 10%, which demonstrates the importance of making necessary changes to reduce health risks.
Recent studies on polyphenols, resveratrol and flavonoids present in grapes have demonstrated some positive results in battling high blood pressure. With approximately 700 million blood pressure medications being prescribed each year in the United States, alone, eating grapes to reduce hypertension seems like a much healthier option. In one study, test subjects that took grape seed extracts had an average decrease of 11 mmHg in their systolic blood pressure (the measured amount of pressure of blood being pushed out of the heart). Another study produced a lesser change in systolic blood pressure (decrease of 5.2 mmHg) and a 2.5 mmHg decrease of the diastolic blood pressure (measured pressure of blood returning to the heart). However, it should be noted that the test subjects in both of these studies were overweight and hypertensive.
In three studies that had normal weight and pre-hypertensive participants (blood pressure ranging from 120/80 mmHg - 139/89 mmHg), results demonstrated insignificant or no change in blood pressure. In general, doctors tend to avoid prescribing medications to pre-hypertensive patients, which is why many prefer slight improvements to the diet and increased physical activity.
These promising studies are great news to individuals with hypertension, but it does not take away the importance of eating right and exercising. If eating a couple grapes a day could decrease ones blood pressure, that, in itself, is a victory in my book.