High blood pressure is a cardiovascular disease that afflicts nearly one in three US adults. Over 1/3 of adults are also thought to have “pre-hypertension” which is borderline high blood pressure that should be managed through diet and exercise. 2 Hypertension is called the “silent killer” because millions of Americans are unaware that they have it, yet it decreases life expectancy and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and renal disease.
The California Strawberry Commission is funding a multi-year randomized, controlled trial involving 80 men and women, ages 30 to 50 years old, who have prehypertension (defined as systolic pressures between 120 and 139 mm Hg or diastolic pressures between 80 and 89 mm Hg).
There is substantial evidence to suggest that strawberries will help reduce blood pressure, but the UC Davis clinical trial will be the first study designed to meet the highest level of scientific scrutiny, and is able to draw cause and effect answers. In previous studies, the UC Davis researchers previously found in laboratory studies that strawberries had potent vasodilator properties, through, at least in part, endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation. In addition, the CSC has previously analyzed NHANES and CSFII data and has found a positive correlation between strawberry consumption and lower blood pressure.
Burton-Freeman et al. University of California at Davis, Department of Nutrition, Davis, CA
2 American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2007 Update At–a-Glance.