Go, Big Blue!

Reduce your risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease with this superfood.
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Eat one cup of blueberries. Do this every day. Have a lower risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

That’s the utterly straightforward message from the Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging and a team of nutrition and exercise scientists at Florida State University. Researcher Sarah A. Johnson, PhD, RD, and colleagues gave female subjects the equivalent of one cup of blueberries (in the form of freeze-dried blueberry powder) daily for eight weeks. At the end of the study, participants showed significant improvements in blood pressure and arterial stiffness compared to those taking a placebo. 

Here’s the key data: a 5.1 percent decrease in systolic blood pressure, a 6.3 percent decrease in diastolic blood pressure, an average reduction of 6.5 percent in arterial stiffness and a 68.5 percent increase in blood levels of nitric oxide (which, as savvy supplement users know, is involved in widening blood vessels). The blueberry has been touted as a superfood for many years due to its impressive antioxidant content. This study provides yet another reason to add this “functional food,” as Johnson calls it, to your morning smoothie or oatmeal.