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Can You Lower Your Blood Pressure With Cherries?

Researchers have found that people can lower their blood pressure with cherries, specifically 60 ml of tart cherry concentrate daily.

Half of the adults in the United States have hypertension. The usual solution is blood pressure medicine and that may be necessary in many cases. But there are many ways to get hypertension under control. Losing weight can make a big difference. Some other natural approaches can also be helpful and have scientific explanations. One reader wants to control blood pressure with cherries.

How Can You Lower Blood Pressure With Cherries?

Q. My doctor says I need blood pressure medication. I’m looking for natural alternatives because I already have joint problems for which I take pills. Do you know anything about the efficacy of tart cherries?

A. Scientists report that 60 ml of Montmorency (tart) cherry concentrate daily lowers systolic blood pressure in men with early hypertension (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2016).  The same dose (60 ml) of Montmorency cherry concentrate also lowered systolic blood pressure in another study (British Journal of Nutrition, Dec. 2016). People taking cherry concentrate did not better on cognitive tests, however.

Another reader is curious about the dose to lower blood pressure with cherries:

Q. I am interested in using cherries or cherry juice for blood pressure (BP) control, but I have a few questions about dosing. There are three different vendors of concentrated tart cherry juice at my local store. Each advises a different dosing of juice, from 2 tablespoons to 8 oz. of concentrated juice. (All advise mixing with something.) This is a large difference in dose.

What is the actual dose recommended? Is one dose in the morning enough, or should I be taking it twice a day?

I’d like to take dried tart cherries in my morning oatmeal (rather than juice) but I can’t find anything about an appropriate dose. For years, I’ve been adding a few dried cranberries to my oatmeal each morning to make it less boring. Do dried cranberries contain the same active ingredient as dried cherries? If so, what would be the effective dose of cranberries? My BP increases yearly, so I must not be taking enough.

ACE Inhibitors Lower Blood Pressure:

A. Both tart cherries and cranberries appear to inhibit angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). This means they work on the same pathway as several popular blood pressure pills such as captopril, enalapril and lisinopril.

Trying to determine the most effective dose of dried fruit or juice is challenging. One randomized controlled trial found that 480 ml (about 2 cups) of tart cherry juice daily lowered systolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (Food & Function, June 20, 2018). 

The only way to tell if such approaches are helpful for you would be to monitor your BP periodically throughout the day. We would suspect that the benefits are relatively short lived. Dividing the “dose” of cherry juice so you drink it two or three times a day might be more effective than just once a day.

Other Benefits of Tart Cherries:

A review of tart cherry research points out that you can do more than lower blood pressure with cherries. They also help moderate blood sugar and reduce inflammation (Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Oct. 30, 2019). In addition, tart cherry supplements have also proven helpful for easing arthritis pain in some studies (Nutrients, March 17, 2018). This could be useful to you with your joint problems. In fact, if you have been taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen to ease the pain, those medications might contribute to your elevated blood pressure

Learn More:

We offer a number of other natural approaches to controlling hypertension in our eGuide to Blood Pressure Treatment. You’ll be able to learn more about how to measure your blood pressure properly. Moreover, we have included information about how weight loss, exercise, slow breathing, following the DASH diet and getting adequate minerals can help you lower your blood pressure.

You may also wish to listen to our interviews with Dr. Katy Bell of the University of Sydney in Australia, Dr. Randall Zusman of Harvard and Dr. Jari Laukkanen of the University of Eastern Finland. You will find them in our Show 1134: Can You Control Your Blood Pressure Without Drugs?

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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  • Keane KM et al, "Effects of Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus Cerasus L.) consumption on vascular function in men with early hypertension." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2016. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.115.123869
  • Keane KM et al, "Montmorency tart cherries (Prunus cerasus L.) modulate vascular function acutely, in the absence of improvement in cognitive performance." British Journal of Nutrition, Dec. 2016. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114516004177
  • Alba C MA et al, "Tart cherries and health: Current knowledge and need for a better understanding of the fate of phytochemicals in the human gastrointestinal tract." Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Oct. 30, 2019. DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1384918
  • Kelley DS et al, "A review of the health benefits of cherries." Nutrients, March 17, 2018. DOI: 10.3390/nu10030368
  • Chai SC et al, "Impact of Tart Cherry Juice on Systolic Blood Pressure and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Food & Function, June 20, 2018. DOI: 10.1039/c8fo00468d
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