Eating Italian Cheese Can Lower Blood Pressure, Study Shows

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16 May 2016 --- Just one serving of Grana Padano, a hard, slow-ripened, semi-fat cheese comparable to “Parmesan” can lower blood pressure thanks to its peptides, according to new research.

These short chains of amino acids strongly prevent the build-up of an enzyme which indirectly increases blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict, according to scientists from the Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital and Catholic University in Piacenza, Italy.

“Adding a little Grana Padano to a healthy diet may provide clinically significant blood pressure lowering benefits,” said the study’s lead author Giuseppe Crippa, MD.

The cheese is rich in proteins that relax the blood vessels as well as blood pressure prescriptions drugs Lotensin and Capoten, the researchers found.

In a randomized trial, 30 adults with hypertension were provided with either an ounce of Grana Padano a day or a placebo imitation cheese for two months.

Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers, systolic – the upper number – and diastolic – the reduced one.

The results showed between a 7-8 mmHg drop in systolic and a 5-7 mmHg drop in diastolic blood pressure, respectively, for those eating the Grana Padano. However, no changes were seen in body mass index (BMI), blood lipids or blood sugar levels.

Dr Crippa said: "The effects are similar to what you would expect with anti-hypertensive medications.

"Adding a little Grana Padano to a healthy diet may provide clinically significant blood pressure lowering benefits."

The Italian scientists’ research is just one of hundreds of breakthrough studies presented at the 31st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) in New York, USA. Other experts presented findings about napping and food and drinks that might help prevent or treat the disease known as the “silent killer.”

High blood pressure is known as the 'silent killer' because there are no symptoms. Left untreated it can lead to a heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. 

The team, whose work was published in the American Diary of Clinical Nutrition, said that lowering blood stress by tiny quantities can easily have actually a huge impact on life expectancy. 

At least 16 million people in Britain have high blood pressure. Patients are given drugs to reduce the pressure, but in up to a fifth of cases these do not work.

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