Berry, Berry Good: Blueberries May Boost Heart Health

Blueberries may reduce or help prevent high blood pressure, which can keep your heart healthy

Blueberries have long been pushed at the breakfast table as a “superfood,” but how good for you are these berries, really?

Very good, it turns out.

A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — and funded by the US Highbush Blueberry Council — found that adding just 1 cup of the berries a day to your diet may help to reduce high blood pressure.

This study looked at nearly 50 postmenopausal women with high blood pressure.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States,” said lead study author Sarah A. Johnson, PhD, assistant director of the Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging, in a press statement. “Once women go through menopause, this puts them at an even greater risk for it. Our findings suggest that the addition of a single food, blueberries, to the diet may mitigate the negative cardiovascular effects that often occur as a result of menopause.”

Patients in the study were given either freeze-dried blueberry powder or a placebo powder. Those who ate the blueberry powder, which was the equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries, had a greater reduction in blood pressure than the placebo group, Dr. Johnson and team found.

Dr. Johnson and colleagues theorized that the nitric oxide — which can relax blood vessels — in blueberries could account for the decreased blood pressure.

Other studies suggest that blueberries can slow memory loss, especially among older people.

This study was published online Jan. 8.

The US Highbush Blueberry Council and the US Department of Agriculture funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.