Blueberry lovers, rejoice! A new study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating a cup of blueberries each day can reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease by up to 15%.
The study focused on individuals with metabolic syndrome, a condition that affects an estimated 88% of all Americans. Metabolic syndrome is defined by having at least three of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, low levels of HDL cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides. It's shocking to think that only 12% of the American population is metabolically healthy.
A cup of blueberries isn't a single solution, though it can definitely help according to the study. People who consume blueberries on a regular basis have been shown to have a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But how? Blueberries are a rich source of a compound called anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that's responsible for the blueberry's deep blue color.
The study looking at whether or not a cup of blueberries a day could help improve cardiovascular risk factors for those who were already identified as having metabolic syndrome lasted for six months. During those six months, the individuals in the study were divided into two groups. One of the groups was given a daily cup of blueberries (fresh, frozen or freeze-dried). This group showed that eating one cup of blueberries once a day improved cardiovascular risk factors over the six month period by up to 15%. The researchers concluded that eating one cup of blueberries a day resulted in improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness.
So if you're trying to get your cardiologist off your back about poor cardiovascular health, or you want to prevent cardiovascular risks in the future, perhaps you should consider eating a cup of blueberries each day. I like to consume organic blueberries when they're in season (generally April-October). I buy and consume frozen blueberries when they're not in season. Trader Joe's usually has organic, wild blueberries in stock in their freezer section throughout the year. But you can pretty much find frozen blueberries in any grocery store. I recommend buying organic to avoid consuming nasty pesticides.
Would you like to consume more blueberries? I'm not saying a cup a day is completely necessary if you're not at risk for cardiovascular disease or if you're part of the 12% of Americans who don't have metabolic syndrome. But it doesn't hurt to consume more blueberries and less processed foods. Here are some blueberry recipes for you to enjoy:
Paleo Blueberry Pie Crumb Bars from Real Food with Jessica
Blueberry Chicken Salad with Rosemary from The Real Food Dietitians
Red, White and Blueberry Panna Cotta from Unbound Wellness
Superfood Salad with Blueberry Lemon Vinaigrette from Wholesomelicious
Superfood Baked Salmon from Cotter Crunch
Blueberry Sour Gummies from What Great Grandma Ate
Wild Maine Blueberry Pie from Flash Fiction Kitchen
Fluffy Low Carb Blueberry Pancakes from The Big Man's World
Dairy Free Cheesecake with Berries from Steph Gaudreau
Homemade Blueberry Preserves from Against All Grain