12 January - 20 June 2016

Daily consumption of blueberries may help slash blood pressure

28 January 2015

Daily consumption of blueberries may help to reduce blood pressure, according to research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  

The research, conducted by Florida State University, recruited 48 women to participate in an 8 week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.  Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 22 g per day of freeze-dried blueberry powder or 22 g of a control powder for the 8 weeks.  This dose was equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries.  

The researchers found that consumption of the freeze-dried blueberry powder into the diet improved blood pressure and arterial stiffness potentially through enhanced nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation.  In addition, improvements in brachial-ankle pulse wave were also reported.  Pulse wave velocity is a non-invasive method for assessing arterial stiffness and has been shown to predict future cardiovascular events.  

In this study, brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, which is a composite measure of central and peripheral arterial stiffness, was significantly reduced after 8 weeks in the blueberry-treated group, whereas there were no changes in the control group.  Consumer interest in blueberries and the compounds they contain has increased in recent years, following results from studies reporting a wide range of health benefits, most notably for brain health and reducing the risk of cognitive decline.  

The researchers of this particular study suggest that regular consumption of blueberries over the long term could potentially delay the progression of hypertension and reduce cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women.

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