Strawberries may have a positive effects on blood pressure

Can Strawberries Lower Blood Pressure?

Can Strawberries Lower Blood Pressure?

Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

It's hard not to love berries. They're delicious and nutritious, and with so many to choose from, there's bound to be one suited to your tastes. And best of all, they may help your heart and brain health!

Recent research from a San Diego State University study found a connection between strawberries and moderate cognitive and cardiovascular benefits—including blood pressure. This new study showed increased processing and cognitive function, increased total antioxidant capacity, and reduced systolic blood pressure in those who consumed 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder daily.

Of course, we already knew that strawberries were healthy! These latest findings only add to the extensive literature which suggests that these fruits are a "berry" good way to maintain your health—and perhaps improve cognitive function and cardiovascular risk factors. But there are some limitations to this most recent study, particularly when it comes to proving a link between strawberries and blood pressure.

Here's what you need to know about the potential health benefits of these tasty, affordable little red fruits.

Can strawberries lower blood pressure?

Generally speaking, berries have a big reputation to uphold. Widely considered a superfood thanks to their antioxidant potential, alongside the carotenoids, flavonoids and other healthy nutrients they provide, enjoying berries and other fruit as part of your regular diet should be a no-brainer. They benefit everything from weight loss and gut health to your immune and heart health (even more specific conditions like type 2 diabetes).

But whether strawberries (packed with nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, potassium, magnesium and more) lower blood pressure is another story.

The study's main focus was on strawberry's role as an antioxidant and whether it exerts meaningful benefits for heart and brain health. It included 35 healthy adults (17 women and 18 men) between 66 and 78 years old who consumed either 26 grams of strawberries in the form of strawberry powder that had been freeze-dried or a control powder daily over 8 weeks. This was a crossover trial, meaning after the 8 weeks were up, the subjects had a wash-out period for 4 weeks before switching to the opposite powder and taking it for the following 8 weeks.

By the end of the trial, researchers found that consumption of strawberries increased the subjects' cognitive processing speed by 5.2%, lowered systolic blood pressure by 3.6% and increased their antioxidant capacity by 10.2% compared to the control powder.

Limitations of the study

While the study showed minor improvements based on regularly eating this fruit, the research is far from conclusive—especially since it only impacted systolic BP vs. diastolic BP. In fact, in an overview of several studies on berry consumption, only three of 12 studies reported a correlation between strawberry consumption and lowering of blood pressure. Additionally, this review of clinical trials showed a stronger effect and better evidence for lowering hypertension by eating chokeberries, cherries, blueberries and raspberries as compared to strawberries.

Additionally, the pool of participants (only 35) was small.

So while the answer isn't quite conclusive on how big of an effect they have on blood pressure, strawberries are still a smart fruit to have in your daily diet based on the other multiple health benefits they provide.

What causes high blood pressure?

Hypertension, aka high blood pressure, is a condition that occurs when the pressure in your blood vessels and the force of blood pushing against your arteries is too high. Something that can be evaluated either at home or at your doctor's office, anything above 140/90 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) is considered to be a high BP level. The higher number is called systolic, measured when the heart contracts, and the lower number is diastolic, measured when the heart rests.

This condition is common, with an estimated 1.28 billion adults between the ages of 30 and 79 experiencing it, some who might not even notice that they're experiencing it. However, common doesn't mean it's not dangerous—hypertension is a major cause of premature death around the world. It's even referred to by the moniker "the silent killer" by some healthcare providers.

There are a variety of factors that may cause high blood pressure, including modifiable factors like an unhealthy diet, inactivity, tobacco and alcohol consumption and not maintaining a healthy weight. Non-modifiable factors include family history of hypertension, being over the age of 65 and already-present diseases like diabetes.

While these facts may seem grim, you can reduce your risk of high blood pressure in plenty of ways.

Ways to lower blood pressure

The good news for those who may be concerned about their blood pressure is that high levels are not set in stone. High blood pressure is actually a preventable condition. While there are certain risk factors that you can't control (like family history or your age), there is plenty within your control that can help reduce your risk—starting with healthy habits and lifestyle changes. Armed with these healthy changes, you can reach an optimal range of 115/75 mm Hg or less in no time!

  • Eat a healthy diet

    —While the evidence that strawberry consumption lowers your blood pressure might be shaky, there is evidence that certain foods as part of a healthy diet—including a plethora of fruit and vegetables—can help shift the blood pressure odds in your favor.
  • There's even an eating plan known as DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) that's been shown to help people lower their blood pressure. It's flexible and is focused on providing daily and weekly nutritional goals. Eating foods rich in potassium, fiber and protein that are also low-fat and low-sodium are good rules of thumb when you want to eat heart healthy.

    Pro tip: Worried you won't get the same amount of heart-friendly nutrients like the letter vitamins, potassium and more in frozen or dried fruit and vegetables as you do fresh? Have no fear! Fresh fruit and vegetables are frozen very shortly after they've been harvested, which allows all those healthy nutrients they contain to be preserved until you're ready to eat them.

  • Get regular exercise

    —The importance of keeping your body moving can't be understated. Not only does regular movement help make your heart stronger, but it also helps in your efforts to maintain a healthy weight (especially since being overweight can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure).
  • The combination of cardio and strength training is a great way to support a heart-healthy and blood-pressure-friendly lifestyle. And you don't have to become an elite athlete to keep your blood pressure in a good place—you just have to commit to consistent movement in your everyday life.

  • Avoid alcohol and smoking

    —Did you know that a single cigarette raises your blood pressure? Smoking also puts you at a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. If you don't smoke, plan on keeping it that way. If you do smoke, it might be time to throw out that lighter—quitting will lower your chance of heart disease.
  • Similar to smoking, just one alcoholic beverage can raise your blood pressure. It is recommended that men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and women should limit themselves to one.

  • Have healthy sleep habits

    —If you need a sign to get more ZZZs, this is it! Poor sleep on a regular basis has been linked to an increased risk of several health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Make sure you're limiting blue light-emitting devices at least an hour before bedtime and aim for 8 hours of uninterrupted rest. Your body—and your heart—will thank you!



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The Life Extension Health News team delivers accurate information about vitamins, nutrition and aging. Our stories rely on multiple, authoritative sources and experts. We keep our content accurate and trustworthy, by submitting it to a medical reviewer.