A cucumber a day for lower blood pressure
If you eat a modestly sized cucumber every day, your blood pressure will drop. In a small study conducted with people over 60 with high blood pressure, the effect was surprisingly large.
In 2017, Indonesian researchers published a small human intervention study in which 20 people over the age of 60 with high blood pressure participated. The researchers had the test subjects drink a glass of cucumber juice twice a day. There was no control group.
Each glass consisted of 200 milliliters of water and 100 grams of fresh cucumber. The test subjects had put the cucumber in a blender and mixed the juice with water. The test subjects therefore consumed 200 grams of cucumber every day.
So that's a small cucumber a day.
After drinking two glasses of cucumber juice every day for a week, systole [the blood pressure during the heartbeat] and diastole [the blood pressure between two heartbeats] decreased by 16.5 and 9.5 points, respectively.
This is a remarkable decrease, but the blood pressure in some subjects was very high.
The subjects also reported that they felt calmer after drinking cucumber juice. "Some of them stated that their headache and muscle tension on their nape feel lighter, even so, ceased to exist", the researchers write.
The Indonesians suspect that potassium in particular plays a role in the effects found. [Circulation. 2018 Jan 16;137(3):237-46.] A cucumber contains approximately 440 milligrams of potassium. According to American researchers, the daily requirement for potassium is approximately 2500-3500 milligrams per day.
Cucumbers also contain magnesium and dietary fiber. [Arch Intern Med. 2005 Jan 24;165(2):150-6.] These nutrients also have a blood pressure-lowering effect.
"The significant effect of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) juice on lowering blood pressure in elderly suggested that health professional might need to have the cucumber to deal with hypertension," the researchers summarize. "However, further study is needed."
Public Health of Indonesia. 2017;3(1):30-6.
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