According to research, blueberry consumption can help prevent high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the main cardiovascular diseases in the world. Hypertension contributes to stroke and heart disease and is costing over $300 billion every year. About 25 % of the adult population is affected worldwide, which includes 10 million individuals in the UK and 1 in 3 US adults. The research shows that bioactive compounds within blueberries known as anthocyanins provide protection against high blood pressure. In comparison to individuals who don’t eat blueberries, those eating no less than 1 serving every week reduce the risk of high blood pressure by 10 %.
Anthocyanins are part of the bioactive family of compounds known as flavonoids and are present in higher quantities in blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, aubergines and blood orange juice. Other flavonoids are present in numerous vegetables, fruits, herbs and grains. The flavonoids found in fruit juice, tea, dark chocolate and red wine are already known to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
The researchers studied 134,000 women and 47,000 men during a time period of 14 years. Not one of them had hypertension at the beginning of the research. Individuals were requested to fill out health questionnaires every 2 years and dietary intake was evaluated every 4 years. Occurrence of newly diagnosed high blood pressure for the duration of the 14-year time period was then linked to intake of a variety of flavonoids.
In the course of the research, 35,000 individuals developed hypertension. Tea was identified as the primary contributor of flavonoids, with orange juice, apples, blueberries, strawberries and red wine also providing significant quantities. When the researchers considered the connection between individual subclasses of flavonoids and high blood pressure, it was discovered that individuals consuming the highest amounts of anthocyanins (primarily in strawberries and blueberries) were 8 % less likely to be clinically determined to have hypertension compared to individuals consuming the smallest quantities. The effect was even more powerful in individuals younger than 60.
The effect was most powerful for blueberry as opposed to strawberry consumption. In comparison to individuals who did not eat blueberries, those eating a minimum of 1 serving of blueberries each week were 10 % less likely to develop high hypertension.
Anthocyanins are easily included in to the diet as they are found in numerous typically consumed foods.