Can blueberries protect heart health?

Health

Daily consumption of 1 cup of blueberries can increase metabolic markers associated with cardiovascular risk, according to a new study.
Blueberries are delicious and nutritious; If they can also reduce the risk of heart disease, this will be a bonus.

For this reason, the United States Highbush Blueberry Board supports research to examine the potential benefits of blueberries for heart health.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia in England have collaborated with scientists at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In particular, they want to know whether regular consumption of blueberries can change the metabolic profile of people with metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome describes a group of conditions that include high blood pressure, excess body fat at the waist, high blood sugar levels, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Together, these factors increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

At present, the metabolic syndrome affects more than a third of adults in the US. Some experts talk about global epidemics.

Blueberry and anthocyanin

“Previous studies showed that people who regularly consume blueberries have a lower risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said lead researcher Professor One Cassidy.

“This,” he said, “might be due to the fact that blueberries are rich in natural compounds called anthocyanins.”

Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments that can look red, black, blue or purple. These flavonoids occur in tissues – including stems, leaves, flowers, roots and fruit – from much higher plants.

Previous studies have shown an association between increased anthocyanin consumption and a reduced risk of death. Others associate these chemicals with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

But so far, a lot of research has been done in a relatively short time. Some studies even only consume one serving of blueberries.

No randomized controlled trials have been conducted to investigate the potential of blueberries to prevent disease in populations at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Cassidy said, “We want to find out whether eating blueberries can help people who are already considered vulnerable to such diseases.”

Test blueberries in powder form

This team recruited 115 participants aged 50 to 75 years, all of them overweight or obese and suffering from metabolic syndrome. This study lasted for 6 months, making it the longest of its kind.

It is important to note that scientists have used blueberries that are accessible through food, rather than expecting participants to eat unstable and unrealistic amounts of blueberries every day.

You divide participants into three groups:

  • One group consumed frozen cranberries, which is equivalent to 1 cup (150 grams) of fresh blueberries per day.
  • Another group consumed frozen dried blueberries, which is equivalent to half a cup (75 grams) of fresh blueberries per day.
  • The last group acts as a control group; You have received a powder that looks like blueberry powder, but mainly contains dextrose, maltodextrin, and fructose.
  • At the beginning and at the end of the study, the researchers evaluated biomarkers for insulin resistance, lipid status, and vascular function. Recently, they published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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