Eating Blueberries May Improve Heart Health

Eating blueberries each day may reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and led by the University of East Anglia. People with diabetes are roughly twice as likely as those without to have heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.

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“Previous studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This may be because blueberries are high in naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins, which are the flavonoids responsible for the red and blue color in fruits,” said study co-author Aedin Cassidy, PhD.

To determine whether blueberries also have beneficial effects in people with metabolic syndrome (a condition characterized by features such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excessive fat around the abdomen and abnormal levels of blood fats that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes), researchers recruited 138 overweight and obese people with the condition. The participants ate either 150 grams or 75 grams of freeze-dried blueberries daily, while a control group ate a placebo (inactive treatment) made of artificial colors and flavorings. Based on the results after six months, eating 150 grams, or approximately one cup, of blueberries each day decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 15%. Eating half of that amount each day (75 grams) did not provide heart health benefits in the study group.

According to study co-lead Peter Curtis, PhD, “The simple and attainable message is to consume one cup of blueberries daily to improve cardiovascular health.”

Want to add some blueberries to your diet? Try our recipes for Yogurt “Custard” with Blueberries, Blueberry Bliss, and No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake.

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