A small pilot study found that coconut sap powder, a sweetener derived from the sap of the coconut palm tree, lowered blood pressure and reduced artery stiffness in middle-aged and older adults.
Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener from the fluid or sap inside the coconut palm. Research shows that coconut sap contains high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals and might be a healthier alternative to cane sugar. In addition, a 2021 study found that this novel sweetener enhanced exercise performance and increased antioxidant biomarkers in young men.
Now, a pilot study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that coconut sugar appears to reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness in middle-aged and older adults.
To conduct the research, scientists recruited 19 participants aged 55 years and measured their heart rates, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and inflammatory biomarkers. Then, the team divided the participants into two groups. One group consumed coconut sap powder, and the other took a placebo daily for eight weeks.
The team found that although inflammatory biomarkers did not change in either group, the participants who consumed the coconut sugar had less stiffness in the carotid artery and lower systolic blood pressure measurements.
However, the researchers only observed reduced blood pressure measurements when it was measured in the arm and not the carotid artery.
Still, because of the small number of participants, the scientists say more research is needed using a larger sample size. Also, the participants were all healthy adults, so further studies should include people diagnosed with high blood pressure to understand the blood pressure-lowering effects of coconut sugar fully.
Nonetheless, the scientists suggest that coconut sap powder could be a novel nutraceutical to potentially treat age-related cardiovascular disease.
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