Tart cherry juice consumption reduces blood pressure in older adults

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University of Delaware
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States. It was estimated that 80% of people who died of CVD were age 65 or older. Hypertension and dyslipidemia are major risk factors for CVD. Common treatments for high blood pressure (BP) and dyslipidemia include medications, but there is question as to whether natural sources may be adequate to improve CVD risk factors. Studies have suggested age-associated related cardiovascular conditions may be ameliorated by the antioxidants in tart cherry. Hence, we conducted a randomized intervention trial evaluating whether participants consuming 16 fluid ounces (fl. oz.) of tart cherry juice daily would reduce CVD risk factors including total cholesterol, low-density protein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, atherogenic risk ratios, and systolic and diastolic BP when compared to a placebo group consuming 16 fl. oz. of placebo daily for 12 weeks. Participants consisted of 37 generally healthy older adults between the ages of 65-80. Participants were randomly assigned to the tart cherry group or placebo group and were blinded to which group they were in. Overnight fasting blood samples and BP were collected at baseline and final. Dietary intake and physical activity were also assessed. The baseline characteristics of participants in both groups were similar, with the exception of physical activity, which was significantly greater in the tart cherry group. Results of 2x2 ANOVA show a significant difference between groups in change in systolic BP from baseline to final. In the tart cherry group, systolic BP decreased by 5.7mmHg (4.0%) and in the placebo group systolic BP increased by 5.4mmHg (p value 0.0188). There were no significant changes in any of the other variables. The present finding also indicated that an additional 240 daily caloric intake from juice did not significantly increase body weight. In conclusion, daily incorporation of tart cherry juice into diet reduced systolic BP in older adults and could be a plausible intervention for improved cardiovascular health in older adults.