Nugget : Other than drinking orange juice, a good diet is the most important factor in heart disease.
Two glasses of orange juice a day lowers blood pressure, a new study suggests. It doesn't mean that OJ is the cure for what ails you. It does mean that a good diet is crucial -- especially for heart patients.
High blood pressure isn't good for anybody. It's a particular problem for people with clogged arteries. Blood-pressure drugs help, but a good diet can make a big difference.
For the first two weeks of the study, they drank two glasses a day of an orange-flavored drink fortified with vitamin C. Their blood pressure dropped a bit. During the next two weeks, they drank plain, not-from-concentrate orange juice. Blood pressure dropped a little more. For the next two weeks they drank OJ fortified with vitamin C and for the two weeks after that they drank OJ fortified with both vitamin C and vitamin E. At the end of the final two weeks, most patients had blood pressure within the normal range.
"This study is intriguing and thought-provoking but it doesn't mean we should tell people to drink two glasses of orange juice a day," Sperling tells WebMD. "But people with heart problems absolutely have to make changes to their diets. There is good data that diet -- weight loss, watching alcohol, and salt intake -- may have a greater impact than medical therapy."
And as the OJ study suggests, a little drop in blood pressure goes a long way.
"A small difference in blood pressure can make a big difference in cardiovascular risk," Sperling says. "And in a diabetic person, we shouldn't be satisfied with just reasonable control -- we should go for optimal blood pressure.