In a new study, researchers found that the ‘blue’ in blueberries could help reduce blood pressure.
The study showed eating 200g of blueberries every day for a month could help improve blood vessel function and reduce systolic blood pressure in healthy people.
The research was conducted by King’s College London.
In the current study, the team examined 40 healthy volunteers for one month.
All of the people were randomly given either a drink containing 200g of blueberries, or a matched control drink daily.
The team monitored chemicals in participants’ blood and urine as well as their blood pressure and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery.
FMD is a measure of how the artery widens when blood flow increases, which is considered a sensitive biomarker of heart disease risk.
They also compared the effects of a blueberry drink with those of purified anthocyanins, a type of phytochemical responsible for the blue, red, pink and purple color of fruits and vegetables.
They found two hours after consumption of the blueberry drinks, the effects on blood vessel function appeared and were sustained for one month.
The blood pressure was reduced by 5mmHg. This is exciting because it is similar to what is commonly seen in using blood pressure lowering drug.
In addition, the drinks containing purified anthocyanins led to improvements in endothelial function, which plays key roles in blood clotting and regulating blood pressure.
The researchers suggest that it is best to eat the whole blueberry to get the full benefit. The study finds that the majority of the effects is from anthocyanins.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Mateos from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London.
The study is published in the Journal of Gerontology Series A.
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Further reading: Journal of Gerontology Series A.