Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yogurt, Cranberries, Rice/Bran Oil Lower BP

Medscape Medical News from the:High Blood Pressure Research (AHABP) 2012 Scientific Sessions

From Heartwire > Conference News

Food Fighters: Yogurt, Cranberries, Rice/Bran Oil Lower BP

Lisa Nainggolan

September 20, 2012 (Washington, DC) — Including foods such as low-fat yogurt, sesame/rice-bran oils, and low-calorie cranberry juice in the diet can help keep blood pressure under control, according to three new studies presented as posters at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions, this week [1,2,3]. And the rice/bran oil also helped lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increased levels of HDL cholesterol, the meeting heard.

Asked to comment on the findings for heartwire, chair of the AHA's nutrition committee Dr Rachel Johnson (University of Vermont, Burlington) said: "These results, the three abstracts together, very much reinforce the DASH diet--which the AHA supports--as an effective dietary intervention to lower blood pressure and a heart-healthy way to eat."

DASH recommends two to three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products per day, four to five servings of fruit a day, and two to three servings of "healthy" fats and oils, "and certainly sesame/rice-bran oil, which contains polyunsaturated fatty acids and is rich in antioxidants, would be classified as a healthy fat," she observes.

Yogurt: Keep It Low in Fat and Sugar

The yogurt research was presented by Dr Huifen Wang (Tufts University, Boston, MA), who together with colleagues examined the effects of consuming low-fat yogurt in just over 2000 adults participating in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. Participants, who did not have hypertension at baseline, were said to be "consumers" if they ate one or more servings of yogurt per month, as noted by a food frequency questionnaire. Of those in the study, 44% were yogurt consumers at the beginning, and this increased over the 14 years of follow-up. There were 913 people who developed incident hypertension over the course of the study.

Yogurt can be an effective way to add milk or dairy products to your diet.
Those who ate >2% of total calories from yogurt (the high-intake group, representing one six-ounce cup of low-fat yogurt every three days) had about a 30% lower risk of incident hypertension than nonconsumers (OR 0.69, after adjustment for demographic and lifestyle factors and cholesterol medication use). The high-intake group also had 0.19-mm-Hg smaller annualized elevation of systolic BP than nonconsumers (p=0.04).

Johnson says: "Yogurt can be an effective way to add milk or dairy products to your diet, because many people do not come close to meeting those recommendations for two to three servings per day. The yogurt study reinforces what we already know about the role of dairy products." However, she cautions that care must be taken regarding the amount of sugar in yogurt: "We know that added sugars have the opposite effect on BP, so you need to watch the amount of sugar, and some yogurts are high in sugar."

Cranberry Juice an Option for a Fruit or Vegetable Portion

In a second study, researchers from the US Department of Agriculture, led by Dr Janet A Novotny, gave low-calorie cranberry juice or a color/flavor/calorie-matched placebo beverage to 56 adult volunteers, incorporated into a controlled diet for eight weeks. At the end of the study, when BP values were compared with baseline, cranberry juice was associated with a significant decrease in diastolic BP (p=0.049) and a trend toward decreased systolic BP, while the placebo was associated with no change from baseline.

You can use cranberry juice or cranberries, which are rich in potassium and antioxidants, to meet that recommendation to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Johnson observes that this was "a small study" and some key details are missing, such as the amount of cranberry juice consumed. Nevertheless, "It does show that you can use cranberry juice or cranberries, which are rich in potassium and antioxidants, to meet that recommendation to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables," she says. She notes also that low-calorie cranberry juice was employed in this study, "which I would certainly recommend. Cranberries are quite sour tasting, so they really do need to be sweetened to make them palatable, and full-calorie cranberry juice can be quite high in added sugars."

Blend of Sesame/Rice-Bran Oil Drops BP and Improve Lipids

Finally, Dr Devarajan Sankar (Fukuoka University Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan) and colleagues conducted a prospective, randomized open-label dietary-intervention study in 300 hypertensive patients in New Delhi, India, randomizing them to one of three groups: the calcium-channel blocker (CCB) nifedipine 30 mg/day; 35 g/day of a blend of sesame and rice-bran oil (trademark Vivo); or nifedipine plus sesame-oil blend for 60 days.

The CCB, sesame oil, and combination of the two induced significant falls in systolic BP (-16.2 mm Hg, -14 mm Hg, and -36 mm Hg, respectively) and in diastolic BP (-12 mm Hg, -10.8 mm Hg, and -23.8 mm Hg), respectively, over the course of the study. The combination resulted in such a remarkable drop in BP that the dose of nifedipine had to be reduced. And those using the oil saw a 26% fall in LDL and a 9.5% increase in HDL cholesterol.

"We have demonstrated, for the first time, that dietary interventions with blends of sesame and rice-bran oils lower BP and lipids in hypertensive individuals," say Sankar et al. However, they note that further studies of the oil--which was made specifically for this study and is not marketed commercially--are needed.

The yogurt study was funded by a research grant from Dannon and the cranberry study by Ocean Spray Cranberries. Sankar et al report no conflicts of interest.

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