Healthy adults who consumed at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily--the amount recommended in the US and Canada-had lower blood pressure than adults who consumed fewer servings over 6 months.
The findings support previous research showing that a fruit and vegetable-rich diet boosts levels of disease-fighting antioxidants in the blood and reduces blood pressure in the short term.
Researchers from the University of Oxford assigned nearly 700 adults aged 25 to 64 to follow their regular diet or to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. One serving is equal one medium-sized piece of fruit or half a cup of cooked vegetables.
Over the next 6 months, levels of certain antioxidants increased in the group of adults encouraged to boost their fruit and vegetable intake but not in the other group.
The systolic blood pressure of adults who consumed more fruit and vegetables fell by about 4 mm Hg and their diastolic pressure fell by 1.5 mm Hg. (The systolic blood pressure is the first number in a blood pressure reading, and the diastolic blood pressure is the second).
The scientists suggest that a higher intake of potassium, which is abundant in many fruits and vegetables and is associated with lower blood pressure, may be responsible for the blood pressure lowering effects.
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