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Raw fruit may not be related to blood pressure

People who eat more raw fruit or drink juice not necessarily have lower blood pressure, according to a new study that goes against previous tests.

Larger, more rigorous studies have shown that eating more fruits and vegetables do not reduce blood pressure over time, but the specific role of the fruit is still unknown, lead author Dr. Linda Oude Griep told Reuters Health in an e e.

From the new results, it is unclear whether eating more fruit influence blood pressure, Oude Griep said, from Imperial College London School of Public Health.

Oude Griep and his co-authors analyzed data from a study of 4,680 middle-aged men and women randomly selected from Japan, China, USA and the United Kingdom.

Participants recalled what they had eaten the day before two days in a row, with blood pressure measurements taken and then repeat the process three weeks later. Their average blood pressure at or just below 120/80, the safety cutoff according to the Centers for Disease Control, but people with higher measurements were included.

The researchers calculated each person’s fruit and fruit juice consumption in grams per 1,000 calories of food consumed.

People in the U.S. ate less raw fruit, averaging 52 grams, equivalent to half of an apple, per 1,000 calories, compared with 68 grams in China, the country with the highest consumption. Fruit juice is not commonly consumed in Asian countries, in the U.S., the average was 46 grams, or less than a cup.

For the group as a whole, there was no association between fruit and blood pressure. When the researchers considered Japan and China alone, blood pressure actually increased with more fruit, but the change was almost imperceptible.

However, the study was small and only looked at a group of people at a given moment in time, so that the results have limitations and the door is open for more research, Oude Griep said.

“The main limitation of this study is that dietary intake was assessed in a single day, and that’s not a good representation of a person’s usual diet,” Dr. Walter Willett told Reuters Health by email.

Previous studies found a decrease in blood pressure following individual eating patterns over longer periods of time and were probably more reliable, said Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the School of Public Health at Harvard in Boston.

Other differences may also have played a role. In the new study, high fruit consumers were more frequently women, older, more educated, less likely to smoke or drink alcohol and tend to have healthier diets overall. People who ate more fruits received more vitamin C, fiber, potassium and magnesium, according to the study.

Fruit juices contain large amounts of rapidly absorbed sugars that could offset some of the benefits of the fruit itself, Willett said.

“My main concern is that this article is not to discourage people from eating fruit, which is increasingly found to be part of a healthy diet (along with vegetables),” said Dr. Martha Grogan, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Most doctors do not expect to eat more fruits to lower blood pressure by itself, but to reach a healthy weight not lower blood pressure, and eating more fruits and vegetables is a part of that process, Grogan told Reuters Health by email.