For individuals seeking a natural way to keep slightly elevated blood pressure in check, eating a handful of raisins each day might do the trick. New data presented at the American College of Cardiology 61st Annual Scientific Session suggest that among adults with hypertension or mild increases in blood pressure,
routine consumption of raisins may lower readings, especially compared with eating other common snacks. The researchers noted that raisins are packed with potassium, which is known to lower blood pressure, and are also a good source of antioxidant dietary fiber, which may favorably alter the biochemistry of blood vessels, enabling them to be less stiff.
The study helps validate some current nutrient recommendations, such as 60 raisins—about a handful, containing one gram of fiber and 212 milligrams of potassium—as being helpful in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in three (28 percent) of American adults have prehypertension, defined as a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg.
Researchers cautioned that their study was small; larger trials are needed.