This Popular European Fruit Could Help Lower Your Blood Pressure — So Why Have Most Americans Never Heard Of It?

High blood pressure is an extremely common issue with American adults, but it’s no secret that common blood pressure medications can have some unpleasant side effects. So if your blood pressure is a little high, it’s best to start out using natural methods.

From staying hydrated and physically active to eating plenty of healthy foods, there are a lot of factors that go into regulating your blood pressure. And recently, a tasty European fruit has been shown to help lower it.

Why blood pressure matters so much

High blood pressure can lead to a whole host of problems. | iStock.com

So why is blood pressure so important, anyway? High blood pressure tends to be a warning sign for strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, and other serious illnesses. Inflammation of the body’s arteries resulting from high blood pressure creates the perfect environment for cholesterol and other substances that form artery-injuring plaque, which can lead to all kinds of problems. Regulating your blood pressure is vital to your heart’s health.

Why a proper diet is so vital

Fresh green salad with grilled chicken

A proper diet goes a long way in keeping you healthy. | iStock.com/Lilechka75

Eating the right foods is essential for maintaining our health, and it’s especially important for regulating blood pressure. Foods high in potassium are especially beneficial, and eating a healthy diet can help you manage your weight, which also keeps your blood pressure within normal ranges.

Fruit is fantastic

Banana smoothie on wooden background

Bananas are a great source of potassium. | iStock

Many fruits are high in potassium, which is very beneficial for regulating blood pressure. Bananas are a top choice, and apples, oranges, and apricots are also great picks. And there is one fruit in particular that has been shown to help the heart and keep blood pressure low.

The benefits of blackcurrant

French chef Patrick Bertron cooking with blackcurrant. | JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

The blackcurrant is a woody shrub that produces edible berries, native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia. It’s known for its long list of health benefits, especially to the heart. Blackcurrant is high in both potassium and GLA, which help lower blood pressure and help cells in the heart resist damage. In addition, one study discovered that blackcurrant powder increased heart blood flow and decreased overall peripheral resistance, meaning it might help you recover from a tough workout.

Other health properties of blackcurrant

Blackcurrant is a popular across Europe. | Phil Walter/Getty Images

These little miracle berries do even more than give your blood pressure a much-needed break. They’re full of antioxidants and anthocyanins that help strengthen your immune system and soothe a sore throat. Since they have a direct effect on your body’s inflammatory response, they’ll even help with joint stiffness and arthritis pain.

 Why haven’t we heard of this in the USA?

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Over 100 years ago, blackcurrants carried a virus that endangered American forests. | Ablokhin/iStock/Getty Images

If you’ve never heard of blackcurrant or seen it on the shelves, that’s because it was banned from the country for many years. In 1911, a federal ban made it illegal to grow blackcurrants and gooseberries because these plants served as an intermediary host of white pine blister rust, which infected white pine trees. This interfered with the timber industry. The ban has since been lifted, but blackcurrants remain a rare treat in America.

Where to find blackcurrants today

Red currants with other berries at a market in Berlin, Germany | TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Blood pressure and other health benefits aside, blackcurrants taste pretty great. Currently, blackcurrants are very popular in Europe, but some blackcurrant products and the dried berries can be found in American health food stores and online. If you develop a taste for this heart-healthy fruit, one side effect just might be lowered blood pressure.

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