Blueberries are indeed a hearty snack. A new study has just come out that suggests that women who are 50+ could benefit from improved cardiovascular health by simply consuming a cup of fresh blueberries per day.
According to the study, which was conducted by Florida State, consuming approximately one cup of blueberries per day for women helps lower blood pressure and also helps reduce any stiffness in the arteries. Both stiffness in the arteries and high blood pressure are linked to cardiovascular diseases.
“Our findings suggest that regular consumption of blueberries could potentially delay the progression of prehypertension to hypertension, therefore reducing cardiovascular disease risk,” said Sarah A. Johnson, postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University.
Johnson is the coauthor on the study, and has been working with a team of nutrition and exercise experts at FSU. The paper she’s helped author on the study is called: “Daily blueberry consumption improves blood pressure and arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension.”
Cardiovascular disease is currently listed as one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. at the present, post-menopausal women are at even greater risk. It’s one of the reasons why reducing blood pressure and eating a balanced diet are amongst the most commonly iterated 50+ health tips.
According to the study’s findings, just one serving of blueberries per day, equaling the volume of one cup, is enough to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study was conducted over eight weeks and followed 48 postmenopausal women that were suffering from hypertension (pre-stage and stage-1). They were assigned, at random, to ingest 22 grams of blueberry powder that had been freeze-dried. All study participants were instructed to otherwise carry on their daily routines unhindered.
Blood pressure was monitored throughout the study, and arterial stiffness was also calculated. Following the conclusion of the study, those who had received actual blueberry powder, as opposed to a placebo, were found to have reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 5.1 percent. Furthermore, participants were found to also have reductions of 97 cm/second (6.5 percent) in arterial stiffness.
The blood biomarker, nitric oxide, which helps widen the arteries and keep them healthy, was found to have increased by a drastic 68.5 percent. Johnson concluded that it was this increased nitric oxide that was found to be caused by the blueberries, helping to reduce arterial stiffness and blood pressure exponentially.
So there you have it. Eat more blueberries for better heart health. They’re fabulous on cereal, in yogurt or always wonderful as a healthy, hearty and wholesome snack.