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Three Kiwis a Day May Lower Blood Pressure

One in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, a condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. A recent study from Oslo University Hospital in Norway has found that kiwis may help lower blood pressure.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting on November 15, 2011.

Participants in the study included 118 adults—50 men and 68 women—with an average age of 55 and slightly elevated blood pressure. While ideal blood pressure is 120/80, the participants had blood pressure in the range of 128/85.

The researchers randomly assigned each person to eat either three kiwis or one apple daily for eight weeks.

Participant's blood pressure levels were monitored using 24-hour ambulatory monitoring, which is considered to be more precise than measuring during a single point in time. The group that ate kiwi had systolic blood pressure levels that were 3.6 millimeters lower than the group that ate apples. Systolic blood pressure is the upper reading in a blood pressure measurement and it represents the pressure on the heart when it is beating.

The researchers cautioned that this is a small study and more investigation needs to occur before they can say definitively that kiwi fruit lowers blood pressure. They did, however, recommend that people consider adding kiwi fruit to their daily fruit intake.

The researchers believe the blood pressure lowering properties of kiwi are due to high levels of the antioxidant lutein present in kiwi. In addition to lutein, kiwis have high fiber content and more vitamin C than oranges.

Kiwi fruit has also been linked to prevention of asthma, prevention of wheezing and coughing, and prevention of colon cancer.

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