By Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RNapple a day keeping the doctor away? Well, in Canada, scientists have discovered yet another reason to justify that premise. A recent experiment has revealed that apple peels may help to lower blood pressure.
As you probably know, keeping your blood pressure within an optimal range is essential for living a long, healthy life. Uncontrolled blood pressure can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke, as well as shorten your life span.
Approximately 25% of Americans suffer from high blood pressure, which is defined as blood pressure readings consistently above 140/90. There is no cure for hypertension yet. This is why the results of this latest study are encouraging.
Apple Peel Flavonoids Help Control Blood PressureIn the Canadian study, scientists extracted flavonoids (antioxidants) from apple peel and tested it against endothelial cells, which are blood pressure regulating cells. They found the flavonoids in apple peel inhibited ACE, which stands for angiotensin converting enzyme.1
ACE works with your endothelial cells to control your blood pressure. When ACE is inhibited, blood vessels relax and blood pressure decreases.
Of the flavonoids tested in the study, quercetin, which is found in apple peels, exhibited the most potent ACE inhibiting activity.
Apple Peel Extract – Coming to a Pharmacy Near You?ACE inhibitors aren’t only found in nature — you can also find them in your local pharmacy. They lower blood pressure by inhibiting the same enzyme that’s blocked by apple peel extract.
In fact, if you have high blood pressure, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if you’re on an ACE inhibitor. They’re commonly prescribed by doctors.
If you’re on an ACE inhibitor, you may be wondering if you can just start taking an apple peel extract instead of your prescription medication. Well, we wouldn’t suggest this quite yet.
The Canadian study was done in vitro, meaning it was performed in a test tube and not on actual animals or people. Further studies need to be done before we know if apple peel would be a viable choice for controlling your blood pressure.
Nevertheless, quercetin, which is one of the key flavonoids pointed out in the study, has been investigated for its blood pressure lowering effects in humans.
In another study, hypertensive people who took quercetin supplements (730 mg/day) reduced their systolic (top number) blood pressure by approximately 7 units (mmHg) and diastolic (bottom number) pressure by 5 units (mmHg).2
So, if you’re looking for a helpful apple flavonoid, consider quercetin to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Yes – Eat More Apples!Could apples be a potential treatment for hypertension in the future? Could be, but we’re not 100% sure.
Based on the results of this Canadian study, you may want to consider including more apples in your diet (or you could supplement with it). And, most importantly, be sure to never ditch the peel!
Hypertension is a deadly disease that claims the lives of thousands of Americans each year. In fact, it’s even one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
Could apples eventually become a viable solution for lowering blood pressure? Only time will tell.
- Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814612011351. Accessed August 20, 2012.
- J Nutr. 2007 Nov;137(11):2405-11.
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