Study: Prevent high blood pressure by eating blueberries

Researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Harvard University have discovered that eating blueberries helps to prevent the development of high blood pressure. According to their report, which will be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating at least one serving of blueberries a week helps reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure by ten percent.

Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidant pigments in the flavanoid family known to reduce the overall risk of cardiovascular disease. But thanks to the new research, it is now known that high blood pressure in particular is targeted by these important nutrients.

The team evaluated 134,000 women and 47,000 men as part of their study, none of which had high blood pressure at the start of it. Over the course of 14 years, participants filled out questionnaires every two years about their dietary habits, and researchers analyzed this data to see how flavanoids affected overall health.

Throughout the duration of the study, 35,000 participants developed high blood pressure. But researchers noted that those who consumed the most anthocyanins throughout the course of the study were eight percent less likely to develop high blood pressure compared those who consumed the least amount. And those who ate at least one serving of blueberries per week were ten percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who consumed no blueberries at all.

“Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension,” said Prof. Aedin Cassidy, lead author of the study and faculty member from the Department of Nutrition at UEA’s Medical School.