June 17th, 2019

To Your Health: Eat blueberries to fight cardiovascular disease

By GILLIAN SLADE on June 3, 2019.

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

We are entering the season when there is an abundance of fresh. Seasonal fruit that not only tastes wonderful but is good for us, too.

This week the University of East Anglia released results of research into the benefits of eating a cup of blueberries a day.

Eating one cup of blueberries, or 150 grams, every day reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15%, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Perhaps you’re thinking 15% is not a huge percentage but it is significant because this applied to a group already at high risk.

Blueberries are also something you can enjoying eating each morning, either in a smoothie, with yogourt or as part of a fruit salad. I find adding fruit to fresh spinach leaves with a tart dressing can really be refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

In this particular research the team wanted to see if blueberries impacted metabolic syndrome that affects about one-third of adults in the western world. Those with metabolic syndrome are at risk for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat at the waistline, lower levels of good cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides.

“….blueberries are high in naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins, which are the flavonoids responsible for the red and blue colour in fruits,” said Prof. Aedin Cassidy, lead researcher UEA’s Norwich Medical School. “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 included 138 overweight and obese participants, between the ages of 50 and 75, who were monitored for six months. They had already been identified with metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Peter Curtis, the co-lead in the research, said results indicated improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness. The improvement also translated to a 12 to 15% reduction in cardiovascular disease.

What is significant is that the study also determined that eating only half a cup of blueberries a day did not afford the same benefits to those in the study.

Here’s to enjoying a cup of blueberries every day and here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her at gslade@medicinehatnews.com or 403-528-8635.

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