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Blueberries Lower Heart Disease and Hypertension Risk

March 16, 2011

(Article first published as A Handful of Berries Each Day Lowers Blood Pressure and Risk of Heart Disease on Technorati.)

Anthocyanins in Berries Help Lower Blood Pressure

Anthocyanins in Berries Help Lower Blood Pressure

Bioactive compounds found in the full spectrum of berries, and especially blueberries are shown to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The results provide fresh proof that this great tasting source of beneficial phytonutrients can lower the risk associated with a heart attack.

“Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension,” said lead author Professor Aedin Cassidy of the Department of Nutrition at the University of East Anglia’s Medical School. Approximately one-quarter of all adults worldwide and as many as one in three Americans suffer from hypertension, a leading cause of heart disease and death from a heart attack.

Anthocyanins in Berries Reduce Risk of Hypertension

Experts Recommend Blueberries to Lower Heart Disease Risk

Experts Recommend Blueberries to Lower Heart Disease Risk

The team of scientists followed nearly 200,000 men and women over a period of 14 years and assessed their intake of flavonoids from a variety of natural foods including apples, orange juice, blueberries, red wine, and strawberries. They found that the group consuming the highest amount of anthocyanins (found mainly in blueberries and strawberries in the US) were 8% less likely to develop hypertension over the period of the study.

A more in-depth analysis showed that consumption of blueberries in particular conveyed the highest degree of protection against developing high blood pressure with a 10% lower incidence for those eating the fruit once a week. Dr. Cassidy noted “Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension”. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart attack, and this finding could translate to a significant reduction in the number of people suffering a cardiovascular event.

A Daily Dose of Berries Can Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke and Dementia

Berries Also Lower Risk of Stroke, Diabetes and Dementia

Berries Also Lower Risk of Stroke, Diabetes and Dementia

Nutrition researchers will now begin to identify the different sources of anthocyanins as well as the ideal dose necessary to prevent hypertension. Most berry varieties are packed with flavonoids and anthocyanins that have been shown to lower the risk of chronic illness from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and premature brain aging.

Extensive scientific studies now exist showing how berry consumption, and especially blueberries help to prevent diseases of the brain that result in cognitive decline and dementia. The special compounds that give berries their deep purple and reddish colors are able to cross into the brain where they exert a powerful effect to thwart functional decline.

We now have evidence that berry consumption can prevent hypertension and lower heart attack risk. Until exact standards are developed, nutrition experts advise eating one-half to a full cup of berries several times a week to protect the heart and the brain.

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