Everybody knows that blueberries are a super fruit. Wild blueberries have been long touted to help combat disease and promote healthy aging. The latest research, published in the journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, showed that long-term wild blueberry diets may help improve pathologies associated with metabolic syndrome. Diseases most associated with metabolic syndrome are cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome affects 37% of adults in the United States. The term is used to describe a cluster of risk factors characterized by obesity, hypertension, inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, diabetes, and heart disease. Dr. Klimis-Zacas, Professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Maine and co-author of the study, explains that there are properties in food that have the potential to prevent metabolic syndrome. He explores the idea that food can be medicine. By eating the correct foods, the need for medication and medical intervention is reduced significantly.
Obese Zucker rats were used in this study. They are widely used to model resembling human Mets. One of the landmark characteristics of metabolic syndrome is endothelial dysfunction. Adults who exhibit endothelial dysfunction have a difficult time regulating blood pressure. According to the study, wild blueberry consumption for 8 weeks helped regulate blood flow and blood pressure. Also, recent findings concluded that wild blueberries reduced chronic inflammation and improve abnormal fat profiles usually associated with metabolic syndrome.
Heart Boosting Power for Women
Other clinical studies have shown wild blueberries to have heart health benefits. In a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week may reduce a woman’s risk of heart attack by 33%. Besides polyphenol, wild blueberries are also high in anthocyanin. Anthocyanin provides cardiovascular benefits such as countering the buildup of plaque and helping to dilate arteries.
Wild Blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses. Antioxidants are associated with anti-aging, anti cancer, and heart-healthy benefits. USDA studies have shown that wild blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity per serving compared to 20 other fruits. Ronald Prior, Ph.D., concluded that one-cup of wild blueberries had more total antioxidants than a serving of cranberries, strawberries, plums, raspberries and cultivated blueberries. Oxidative stress is linked to chronic disease and aging. USDA scientists found that eating wild blueberries and other antioxidant-rich foods at every meal prevents oxidative stress.
Blueberries help prevent cancer. In a study conducted by Schiuan Chen, researchers found the potential of blueberries to inhibit cancer growth.
Other Health Benefits
Besides all the benefits already mentioned, wild blueberries also have anti-inflammatory properties and aid in brain health. James Joseph, Ph.D. found that wild blueberries may improve memory loss but it may improve motor skills.
Elizabeth Devore of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School concluded that blueberries may help slow down or curb cognitive decline in older adults. Their findings suggest that eating one or more servings of blueberries each week could slow down cognitive degeneration for several years.
Other research shows that blueberries may support cardiovascular health by it’s cholesterol lowering effects and helps prevent the build up of bacteria responsible for a urinary tract infection.
The anthocyanin content that’s found in blueberries may improve night vision and perk up tired eyes.
What are you waiting for? Grab a big bag and savor a handful every day. Instead of an apple a day keeps the doctor away we can say blueberries every day helps keep the doctor away.