Jun 4, 2019 by News Staff / Source
Eating one cup (150 g) of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15%, according to a new study.
A daily intake of one cup of blueberries improved endothelial function, systemic arterial stiffness and attenuated cyclic guanosine monophosphate concentrations. Image credit: Heidelbergerin.
“Blueberries and other berries should be included in dietary strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease — particularly among at risk groups,” said Professor Aedin Cassidy from the University of East Anglia and colleagues.
The researchers set out to see whether eating anthocyanin-rich blueberries had any effect on metabolic syndrome, a condition that comprises at least three of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, low levels of ‘good cholesterol’ and high levels of triglycerides.
“Previous studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Professor Cassidy, senior author of the study.
“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.”
“We wanted to find out whether eating blueberries could help people who have already been identified as being at risk of developing these sort of conditions.”
The study authors investigated the effects of eating blueberries daily in 138 overweight and obese people, aged between 50 and 75, with metabolic syndrome.
They looked at the benefits of eating 150 gram portions (one cup) compared to 75 gram portions (half a cup).
The participants consumed the blueberries in freeze-dried form and a placebo group was given a purple-colored alternative made of artificial colors and flavorings.
“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%,” said study first author Dr. Peter Curtis, also from the University of East Anglia.
“The simple and attainable message is to consume one cup of blueberries daily to improve cardiovascular health.”
“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.”
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Peter J. Curtis et al. 2019. Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome — results from a 6-month, double-blind, randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 109 (6): 1535-1545; doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy380
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