Raisins shown to significantly reduce blood pressure

   New data suggest that, among individuals with prehypertension, the routine (three times daily) consumption of raisins may significantly lower blood pressure, especially when compared with eating other common snacks.

   Harold Bays, MD, medical director and president of Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center, and colleagues there and at the University of Kentucky at Lexington, randomly assigned 46 men and women with prehypertension to snack on raisins or prepackaged commercial snacks of equivalent caloriesthree times a day for 12 weeks. The study controlled for individual differences in nutrition and physical activity.

   Data analyses found that compared to other snacks, raisins significantly reduced systolic blood pressure at weeks 4, 8, and 12, ranging from -4.8 to -7.2% or -6.0 to -10.2 mmHg (P values <0.05). Within-group analysis demonstrated that raisins significantly reduced mean diastolic blood pressure at all study visits, with changes ranging from -2.4 to - 5.2 mmHg (P values <0.05). Pre-packaged snacks (including crackers and cookies) did not significantly reduce systolic or diastolic blood pressure at any study visit.