Research shows blueberries can be beneficial in reducing heart disease

Good for the ticker: Australian blueberries, which are now in season, are proven to be beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart. Picture: Robert F Bukaty
Good for the ticker: Australian blueberries, which are now in season, are proven to be beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart. Picture: Robert F Bukaty

You've probably noticed that blueberries are on the cheaper end at supermarkets during winter, and now there's more of a reason to stock up.

International research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals a significant connection between lowering heart disease and eating fresh blueberries.

A study found that eating 150 grams of blueberries daily decreased the risk of heart disease, which is Australia's number one killer, by up to 15 per cent.

The research analysed the benefits of blueberries on Metabolic Syndrome - a collection of disorders including high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol and insulin resistance, that together increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The condition is also known as syndrome X or insulin-resistance syndrome.

People with metabolic syndrome have up to twice the risk of heart attack and stroke and five times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people without the condition.

It affects up to 30 per cent of adults in Australia but can also affect children and adolescents.

But consuming just one cup of blueberries per day results in sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness.

Both of these directly affect a person's likelihood of developing heart disease.

The benefits all stem from 'anthocyanins,' which are what gives blueberries their colour.

Anthocyanin-rich blueberry intake is associated with reduced type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk in prospective studies, although long-term randomised controlled trials have not been conducted in at-risk populations.

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