Three kiwis a day could keep high blood pressure at bay, a new study suggests.
Research presented at the scientific meeting of the American Heart Association shows that eating three kiwis a day is linked with decreased blood pressure.
For the study, researchers had 118 men and women (over age 55) who all had slightly high blood pressure to either eat three kiwis a day for eight weeks, or to eat one apple a day for eight weeks.
After the study period, researchers found that the people who ate the kiwis had lower systolic blood pressure (by an average of 3.6 millimeters of mercury) than people who ate the apples.
Researchers said kiwis are lutein-rich, which means they have antioxidant properties. In past research, harmful free radicals (which antioxidants help to beat) have been linked with high blood pressure, ScienceDaily reported.
A 2007 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition also showed that kiwifruits are one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits, along with grapes and wild blueberries, the United States Department of Agriculture reported.
However, the new study shouldn't spur people to expect kiwis to magically lower their high blood pressure, U.S. News and World Report said:
Cardiologists were quick to caution that there is no single magic food or ingredient that is the key to heart health, but they all agreed that kiwi may have a place in the five daily servings of fruit and vegetables that are currently recommended as part of a heart-healthy diet.
In addition, it's important to eat all foods -- even kiwis! -- in moderation, Dr. Nehal Mehta, preventive cardiologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, told U.S. News and World Report.
"Three kiwis a day or 21 kiwis a week does not seem like moderation, and I would caution against eating that much," Mehta told U.S. News. However, the study likely "puts kiwis on the map."
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