Blueberries for a healthy heart

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Lowering blood pressure with a cup of blueberries

A cup of blueberries a day could be the secret to a healthy heart and lower blood pressure. In fact, consuming a small portion of this fruit every day lowers blood pressure and protects the elasticity of blood vessels, two fundamental aspects of cardiovascular health. These benefits were shown by a study carried out by Sarah Johnson of Florida State University and published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Blueberries are greatly appreciated by nutritionists, who recommend them for their high content in antioxidants. Consumption of high quantities of blueberries has previously been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular risk, although the quantities in question were so elevated (up to 250 grams per day) that they would be difficult to maintain. This recent study, on the other hand, intended to verify the efficacy of much smaller quantities of blueberries. The study was conducted on menopausal women who suffered from high blood pressure and were asked not to modify their diet or exercising habits during the eight-week study. The researchers measured blood pressure and arterial elasticity before and after the eight weeks, during which half of the sample consumed 22 grams of blueberry extract (equal to one small cup of fresh blueberries), while the other half consumed 22 grams of a placebo.

After eight weeks, those who had consumed blueberry extract had experienced on average a 5.1% reduction in systolic (maximum) blood pressure and a 6.3% reduction in diastolic (minimum) blood pressure. Positive effects were also observed on the arteries, which were on average 6.5% more elastic, as well as a healthier heart.

After menopause, women experience an increase in risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. This study suggests that regular consumption of blueberries could slow down the progression of pre-hypertension into hypertension, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A handful of blueberries a day could help you protect your heart, lower blood pressure levels and lead a healthy life.

 

Scientific articles below: