In lowering our high blood pressure naturally, the humble apple is often overlooked. Perhaps it is because it is such a common fruit that many of us do not give it a second thought. Apples have many health benefits. Of course we remember being taught as children that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, in reality, eating an apple a day can keep hypertension at bay.
How apples can help lower high blood pressure
It is important to eat the skin of the apple as well as the fleshy fruit. This is because the skin contains six times more antioxidants than the flesh. More importantly, from the perspective of hypertension, researchers from Nova Scotia Agricultural College, as reported in The Telegraph newspaper on 17 October 2012, discovered that the skin of an apple is significantly more effective at inhibiting the angio tensin converting enzyme (ACE) than the fleshy fruit.
Apple skin was also found to more effective, in the tests, than extracts of other well-known ‘superfoods’ including green tea, blueberries as well as plant extracts.
ACE causes hypertension by restricting the arteries. Apples are a natural ACE inhibitor.
Apples, antioxidants and hypertension
There is clear evidence from a study conducted by the Wolfson Medical Center in Israel and reported in the journal Nutrition and Metabolismthat antioxidants have a beneficial effect in reducing hypertension. (Source: quoted in “How antioxidants ease hypertension” by Siski Green, saga.co.uk/health/news/how-antioxidants-ease-hypertension.aspx, accessed 17 October 2012)
In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two apple varieties – Red Delicious and Granny Smith were ranked 12th and 13th respectively.
Hypertension reducing vitamins and minerals
Apples are packed with vitamins and minerals that help lower high blood pressure. Apples are a good source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and vitamin C is effective at reducing hypertension.
Apples are also a good source of potassium with 159 mg per 100gram of edible fruit and magnesium with 8mg per 100gram of unpeeled raw fruit (6mg if peeled). Both these minerals play an important role in lowering high blood pressure. Potassium also regulates sodium levels within our bodies.
How many apples should we eat?
A study from St. George George’s Hospital Medical School in London found that people who eat five or more apples a week have better lung function than those who don’t. So, it really is a case of “an apple a day”. (Source: Health Magazine, health.com/health/gallery/0,,20405639_3.00.html accessed 17 October 2012).
When it comes lowering our high blood pressure naturally, an apple a day really does keep hypertension at bay.