Overweight people who consumed rose hips, an extract of vitamin C, for six weeks had a 17 per cent decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thereby reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease.
For the study published last month in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, thirty-one obese men and women drank a mixture made with 40 grams of rose hip powder to see if it would decrease their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Rose hips are the tiny berries of the rose plant that form in the spring and ripen in late summer. They contain more vitamin C than grapefruit and oranges. Rose hips also contain vitamins A, D, E and iron, and are known to be high in polyphenols (a type of antioxidant).
Scientists measured the study participants’ weight, blood pressure, blood fat levels and glucose tolerance. After six weeks, total cholesterol dropped nearly five per cent, LDL levels decreased six per cent and blood pressure dropped almost three-and-a-half per cent. This blood pressure reduction alone can result in a decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease by 15 per cent and stroke by 25 per cent, according to the risk assessment score used in the study. These results were impressive when compared to results obtained with drugs that are commonly used to treat these disorders.
Rose hips consumption can be utilized as an alternative therapy for patients who are unable to take anti-cholesterol drugs (statins) due to possible side effects, such as muscle pain. The extract can be eaten raw, but they have a very bitter taste. The most practical way to consume rose hips would be in supplement form.