Posted on Dec 10, 2019, 1 p.m.
Blueberries are more than just delicious, these little functional foods have been subject to many studies, and now they have been found to have another beneficial ability attributed to their antioxidant rich portfolio, that is the ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
This study found that daily consumption one one cup of blueberries over the course of six months resulted in improved arterial function and cholesterol levels in adults with metabolic syndrome. 138 overweight and obese adults aged 50+ with metabolic syndrome were involved in the double blinded and placebo controlled parallel study.
Metabolic syndrome is a term for a cluster of conditions that includes high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure as well as increasing the risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Participants were divided at random into 3 groups; one consuming one cup of blueberries every day, one consuming a half a cup a day, and another consuming a placebo; the group that consumed the most blueberries were found to have experienced the most number of improvements.
“Our test showed that 1 cup of blueberries per day for six months generally improved the vascular environment by increasing the responsiveness of arteries to produce changes in blood flow, improving the flexibility of systemic arteries, and at the same time, increasing the concentration of good lipids and lipoproteins, like HDL, which removes potentially harmful fats from the bloodstream and arteries,” said lead study author Peter Curtis.
According to the team theses findings suggest that the sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness made a great enough impact to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by 12-15%, which may be due to anthocyanin flavonoids and fiber content found in blueberries.
The Journals of Gerontology: Series A also published a similar study which corroborates with these findings. This study involved 40 healthy participants consuming either a 200 gram drink of blueberries or a matched placebo control drink daily for one month that found those in the blueberry drink group experienced decreased blood pressure and improved blood vessel functions which was linked to the anthocyanins content in the berries.
“Effects on blood vessel function were seen two hours after consumption of the blueberry drinks and were sustained for one month even after an overnight fast,” Christian Heiss, senior author of the study and a professor at the University of Surrey and his colleagues said, noting that the reduction in blood pressure is similar to what is reported by other studies which use blood pressure-lowering medications currently available to the public.
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