How do blueberries affect blood pressure?

Blueberries may help lower blood pressure in women with prehypertension and hypertension. A study showed that a daily one-cup serving of blueberries may lower blood pressure and potentially delay the progression of prehypertension to hypertension, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

For eight weeks, 48 postmenopausal women with pre- and stage-1 hypertension were given either the powder equivalent of one cup of fresh berries, or a placebo powder during a trial. Those who consumed blueberry powder experienced a decrease in blood pressure and a reduction in arterial stiffness.

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Hot or cold, cereal always tastes better with a little something on top. And for better blood pressure, the topper you should choose is blueberries.

In a recent study of people with health conditions, those who had freeze-dried blueberries added to their diets every day experienced significant improvements in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure after just eight weeks.

Researchers think that nutrients in blueberries may help soften blood pressure by increasing body levels of enzymes that relax blood vessels. These enzymes also support healthy endothelium -- those fragile cells that line blood vessel walls. And the blueberry lovin' may be particularly helpful for people with sub-par health. In the study, all of the men and women were obese (body mass index of 30 or more) and had metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of health risk factors that can lead to diabetes or heart disease.

The amount of blueberries the people in the study consumed was pretty high -- the equivalent of over two cups of fresh berries per day. But blueberries aren't the only way to get some blood-pressure-friendly berry nutrition into your diet. Similar benefits have also been seen in studies with cranberries, strawberries, raspberries and lingonberries as well as other fresh fruit. So get your winter fruit on!

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Blueberries make high blood pressure take a nosedive. Eating blueberries daily for just 8 weeks can drop your blood pressure by 4% to 6%. That's a lot. Even more impressive, it works on obese adults with metabolic syndrome, a scary group of risk factors that invites heart disease and diabetes. The "dose": about 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries. Just put a bunch on your cereal or salad. (By the way, blueberries aren't the only blood-pressure-friendly fruit. Cranberries, strawberries, and raspberries help, too.)

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