By: Judy Davie - ( information from Science Daily )
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death in Australia. It kills one Australian every 12 minutes and effects one in six people around the country. The three biggest risk factors for heart disease include smoking, being overweight or obese and doing very little exercise.
While everyone with any or all of these lifestyle risk factors should make a concerted effort to change their health habits, a simple short term and immediate strategy might be in to introduce 150 g of blueberries into their daily diet.
New research led by the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with colleagues from Harvard and across the UK has found that eating 150 g of blueberries a day reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The team set out to see whether eating blueberries had any effect on Metabolic Syndrome, a condition which effects one third of adults in the western world and comprises of 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.
In a study with 138 overweight and obese people aged between 50 and 75 with metabolic syndrome they investigated the effects of eating 150 g blueberries over a six-month period.
In this randomised control trial one group received 150 g blueberries, another 75 g, and the placebo group received a purple-coloured alternative made from artificial colours and flavourings.
The results concluded that while 75 g blueberries seemed to have no benefits over the placebo group, the group who ate one cup or 150 g of blueberries a day resulted in sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness: Enough difference to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by between 12 and 15 %.
The simple and attainable message is to consume one cup of blueberries daily to improve cardiovascular health.
Previous studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This may be because blueberries are high in naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins, which are the flavonoids responsible for the red and blue colour in fruits.
1. Peter J Curtis, Vera van der Velpen, Lindsey Berends, Amy Jennings, Martin Feelisch, A Margot Umpleby, Mark Evans, Bernadette O Fernandez, Mia S Meiss, Magdalena Minnion, John Potter, Anne-Marie Minihane, Colin D Kay, Eric B Rimm, Aedín Cassidy. Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome-results from a 6-month, double-blind, randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019; 109 (6): 1535 DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy380
University of East Anglia. "Eating blueberries every day improves heart health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2019.
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