Can eating a cup of blueberries a day cut CVD risk?

Yes: by simply eating a cup of blueberries a day we can reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to new research. The findings show that eating just 150g of blueberries every day reduces the risk of CVD by up to 15%. No surprise then that the research team from the University of East Anglia say that blueberries as well as other berries should be included in dietary strategies to reduce the risk of CVD, particularly among at risk groups.

Researching whether eating blueberries had any impact on Metabolic Syndrome – a common condition which increases the risk of CVD and 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. The researchers wanted to find out whether eating blueberries could help people already identified as being at risk of developing these sort of conditions, so over 6 months the team 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 150g portions (one cup) compared to 75g portions (half a cup). Eating one cup of blueberries per day resulted in sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness, reducing the risk of CVD by between 12 and 15 per cent.

Interestingly there was no benefit of a smaller 75 gram (half cup) daily intake of blueberries in this at-risk group, suggesting higher daily intakes may be needed for heart health benefits in obese, at-risk populations, compared with the general population.

As for the overall message – yet more reasons to eat more real food for better health while cutting down on highly processed foods. This is even more urgent for those with metabolic syndrome.

Make eating real food Just Routine

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