These cherries are a rich source of antioxidant polyphenols, which improve arterial elasticity and promote blood vessel dilation. Although tart to eat, drinking a quarter cup (60 milliliters) of concentrated Montmorency cherry juice, diluted with a bit less than half a cup (100 milliliters) of water, was found to lower systolic blood pressure (the upper reading) by 7 mmHg, compared with a similar-tasting, fruit-flavored placebo.
The blood pressure lowering effect occurred within just one hour and persisted for at least eight hours after drinking the cherry juice to produce a similar antihypertensive effect as thiazide diuretics (water tablets).
Although the study was carried out in men with “early” hypertension (blood pressure over 130/80 mmHg), similar results are expected to occur in women.
Eat fresh cherries as a snack—the darker, sourer ones offer the greatest benefits—and add them to yogurt, muesli, and fruit salads. They’re also great when added to fruit juices and smoothies. For an ongoing medicinal effect, drink Montmorency cherry juice, too. Just a quarter cup (60 milliliters) diluted with water, or added to other juices and smoothies, is a great way to take your medicine!
Dr. Sarah Brewer is a medical nutritionist and nutritional therapist, and the author of more than 60 popular health books. This article was originally published on MyLowerBloodPressure.com Twitter: @DrSarahBHealthy