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While most doctors would recommend eating plenty of fruit for the good of your health, a new study has found that berries - particularly blueberries - are especially vital in order to maintain a healthy heart. Eating just 150g of blueberries per day was found to reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease by up to 15 per cent.
This comes from the University of East Anglia (UEA), where a team of researchers was working to see the effects of eating blueberries on metabolic syndrome, a condition that leads to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
The team assessed the results of eating the fruit regularly, using a group of 138 overweight and obese people, aged between 50 and 75, all of whom suffered from metabolic syndrome. These participants were split into three groups: one was given 150g of freeze-dried blueberries to eat per day, one was given 75g, and the other was given a placebo coloured and flavoured to seem like the real thing.
After observing the participants for six months - the longest a trial of this kind has been run for - the group who ate 150g of blueberries per day saw improvements in their vascular function and arterial stiffness. This reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by between 12 and 15 per cent.
However, the group given 75g of blueberries were not affected, suggesting a higher dose is needed in order to make an impact. Given that all the participants were overweight or obese, it could also be the case that larger people need to eat more blueberries than the general populace to gain the same effect.
Professor Aedin Cassidy from UEA's Norwich Medical School, lead researcher on the study, said: “Previous studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This may be because blueberries are high in naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins, which are the flavonoids responsible for the red and blue colour in fruits.”
Written by Martin Lambert
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