– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Eating a cup of blueberries each day reduces risk factors for heart disease, researchers report.
A team of experts from the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with colleagues from Harvard and across the U.K., have investigated whether eating blueberries had any effect on Metabolic Syndrome, the term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Accordingly, they found that eating 150g of the berries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15 per cent.
“We found that eating one cup of blueberries per day resulted in sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness – making enough of a difference to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by between 12 and 15 per cent,” said co-lead author Dr. Peter Curtis. “The simple and attainable message is to consume one cup of blueberries daily to improve cardiovascular health.”
The team looked at the effects of eating blueberries daily in 138 overweight and obese people, aged between 50 and 75, with Metabolic Syndrome. The six-month study was the longest trial of its kind, and the participants consumed the blueberries in freeze-dried form, while a placebo group was given a purple-coloured alternative made of artificial colours and flavourings.
“Unexpectedly, we found no benefit of a smaller 75 gram (half cup) daily intake of blueberries in this at-risk group. It is possible that higher daily intakes may be needed for heart health benefits in obese, at-risk populations, compared with the general population,” commented Dr. Curtis.
Previous studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, potentially because blueberries are high in naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins, which are the flavonoids responsible for the red and blue colour in fruits.
Full study results have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.