Prunes may help control high blood pressure, study finds

Prunes and dried apricots. Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

Scientists from Shifa College of Medicine found that prunes may help control high blood pressure.

A prune is a dried plum, with no added sugar and contains vitamin B6, manganese, and copper which all support the normal release of energy from foods.

One can get lots of vitamins and antioxidants when one eat a daily serving of prunes.

Prunes are chock full of immune system-boosting vitamins and antioxidants that promote all sorts of healthy cellular activity in your body.

Previous research has found that fruits and vegetables are shown to reduce blood pressure.

It is not merely the antioxidants contained in fruits and vegetables that have health benefits such as lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers: The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.

The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

In the study, the team aimed to examine the protective effects of prunes on heart health.

They tested 259 people. These participants had systolic BPs between 120-139 mmHg and diastolic BP between 80-89 mmHg.

Treated groups drank prune juice and ate the whole fruit (dried plums). They ate either 3 (about 11.5 gm) or 6 prunes.

The control group took only a glass of plain water early in the morning on empty stomach.

The researchers recorded the participants’ blood pressure fortnightly for 8 weeks and examined their blood samples at 0 and 8 weeks.

The team found there was a big reduction in blood pressure in the participants who took a single dose of prunes (3 prunes) every day. With the double dose of prunes (6 prunes), only systolic BP was strongly reduced.

The team also found that the control group had strongly increased HDL in the blood whereas test groups had strongly reduced cholesterol and LDL.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol, absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein), sometimes called “bad” cholesterol, makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke

The team concluded that eating prunes could help control high blood pressure and thus provide some protective effects on heart health.

One limitation of the study is that the participants may have different stages of high blood pressure.

According to the latest high blood pressure guideline, elevated blood pressure is a systolic pressure ranging from 120 to 129 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure below (not above) 80 mm Hg.

Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure ranging from 130 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 80 to 89 mm Hg.

In the current study, these participants had systolic BPs between 120-139 mmHg and diastolic BP between 80-89 mmHg.

This means that the team mixed the elevated blood pressure group and Stage 1 hypertension group together. Whether prunes have different effects on different groups is still unknown.

In addition, for people with more severe high blood pressure, whether eating prunes could help protect heart health is unclear. More studies are needed to solve the issues.

The research is published in the Journal of Ayub Medical College and was conducted by Talat Ahmed et al.

Copyright © 2022 Scientific Diet. All rights reserved.