Blueberry Health Benefits Now Include Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

It may not feel much like smoothie season across the country, but here’s an excellent reason to blend up a smoothie bursting with blueberry health benefits: one cup of blueberries per day could reduce blood pressure and the risk of developing arterial stiffness and that means a big reduction in your risk of cardiovascular disease. Yep, a simple smoothie.

"Our findings suggest that regular consumption of blueberries could potentially delay the progression of prehypertension to hypertension, therefore reducing cardiovascular disease risk," Sarah A. Johnson, lead author of the study and assistant director of the Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging (CAENRA) and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University told Science Daily.

The new study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It looked at 48 postmenopausal women with pre- and stage-1 hypertension who were randomly assigned to receive “either 22 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder -- the equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries -- or 22 grams of a placebo powder,” Science Daily reports. “At the end of the eight weeks, participants receiving the blueberry powder on average had a 7 mmHg (5.1 percent) decrease in systolic blood pressure, which is the top number in the blood pressure reading that measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. They also saw a 5 mmHg (6.3 percent) reduction in diastolic blood pressure, or the bottom number measuring the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.

“Additionally, participants in the blueberry-treated group had an average reduction of 97 cm/second (6.5 percent) in arterial stiffness." 

The researchers also noted significant increases in nitric oxide—more than 68 percent. The blood biomarker plays a role in widening blood vessels, which can help to prevent hypertension.

Blueberries are no stranger to people who eat healthy foods. They’re low-sugar fruits rich in fiber and antioxidants. Of course, you don’t have to pulverize blueberries into smoothies to get their benefits (although, that is a most delicious delivery method). You can consume them fresh by the handful as well or add them into your morning cereal. They’re even scrumptious in salads.

 Image via geishaboy

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