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Improved blood circulation through the consumption of blueberries?
Heart disease is common and causes many deaths worldwide. Researchers have now found that daily consumption of blueberries can lower the risk of heart disease.
A recent study by the University of East Anglia found that eating blueberries daily contributes to a reduced risk of heart disease. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Blueberry consumption lowers the risk of heart disease by 12 to 15 percent
The researchers found that obese adults who 150 g of blueberries daily ingested, had increased blood flow and less stiff arteries. The new study calculated that daily consumption of blueberries can reduce the risk of heart disease by 12 to 15 percent.
The study looked at the effects of eating blueberries daily on 138 overweight and obese adults. All participants were between the ages of 50 and 75 and all had a so-called metabolic syndrome, the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
It is estimated that about a third of adults in western countries suffer from such a syndrome, which increases the risk of heart disease. All participants received either 150 g or 75 g freeze-dried blueberries daily or were asked to take a placebo.
Metabolic syndrome can lead to serious illnesses
The metabolic syndrome increases the risk of coronary heart disease, strokes and other diseases that affect the blood vessels. Diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity can damage blood vessels individually, but all three together are particularly dangerous, the researchers explain. These are very common diseases that are all related, which explains why so many adults are affected by the metabolic syndrome.
No benefit found from lower consumption
Consuming one cup of blueberries a day has been found to significantly improve vascular function and arterial stiffness. This is enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 12 to 15 percent, the authors of the study report. Unexpectedly, there was no benefit observed in the risk group of participants from a lower daily intake of blueberries (75 grams; half a cup). It is possible that obese high-risk populations require a higher daily intake compared to the general population to improve heart health, the researchers say.
Blueberries protect against type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Previous studies have shown that people who eat blueberries regularly have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This may be because blueberries have a high percentage of naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins, the study authors explain. These compounds are responsible for the red and blue color in fruits. Other studies have shown that they can improve some markers for heart disease. (as)