18 August 2009

Kiwi Fruit Lowers Blood Pressure?

Can eating Kiwi Fruit lower blood pressure?

The quick answer to the question above is "nobody knows for sure"! However, a study starting in Norway aims to find out.

The researchers will give 120 volunteers either three kiwi fruit to eat each day, or an apple a day for eight weeks. During this time, both the volunteers' systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure readings will be taken and compared.

The study seeks to find out if kiwi fruits are more effective than apples in helping to lower blood pressure.

The doctors are keen to carry out this research because of the results of an earlier study. In the Oslo Antioxidant Study, they found that people who ate three kiwi fruits a day had a significant reduction in their blood pressure levels.

However, they do not know how kiwi fruit had this effect, so they would like to compare its actions to those of apple to see if the blood pressure lowering is general effect of all types of fruit or a specific effect caused by a molecule found in kiwi fruit.

04 August 2009

Mid-life high blood pressure raise dementia risk

Having high blood pressure, smoking or having diabetes in middle age dramatically increases the risk of developing dementia in later life.

Researchers in the US looked at the lifestyles of 11,151 people age 46-70 years and followed their health for 12-14 years.

The study (published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry) found that, for people aged less than 55 years:

  • Having high blood pressure increases the risk of dementia
  • Smoking increases the risk of dementia five-fold
  • Having diabetes increases the risk of dementia three-fold

In fact, people who had high blood pressure were 60% more likely to develop dementia than people who didn't have high blood pressure. While people who were smoking were 70% more like to develop dementia in later life than those people who had never smoked. People who had diabetes were more than 100% more likely to develop than people without diabetes.

Dementia is caused by damage to the blood vessels supplying the brain. High blood pressure, smoking and diabetes all damage the insides of these arteries and may explain the link between these conditions and a raised risk of dementia in later life.

These findings reinforce the need for everyone - especially in middle age - to take good care of their health by eating healthily, being regularly active and keeping to a healthy weight.