Daily Dose of this Delicious Snack Stops High Blood Pressure in its Tracks
Eating a daily serving of this tasty snack can help you lose belly fat, lower your blood pressure, and stem the onset of diabetes. And that’s not all.
New research shows this food offers other powerful health benefits. For starters, it helps lower risk factors for several serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
What is this wonder food, you ask? I’m talking about the humble blueberry! In today’s article I’ll show you how to maximize the power of blueberries to help you get and stay healthy.
The Wonder Berry
Researchers recently studied the effects of adding blueberries to a normal diet. At the end of 90 days, the participants with the blueberry diet had lower cholesterol, less abdominal fat, and better fasting glucose and insulin levels.
All from simply adding blueberries to what they were already eating.
Researchers believe the secret is the high levels of antioxidants in blueberries.
Berries are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. They contain antioxidants, like anthocyanins, that work their magic to improve and normalize your health. And blueberries are low in sugar and high in fiber, so they help to stabilize blood sugar.
Blueberries are a little powerhouse of nutrition. Ounce for ounce they pack more of a health punch than almost any other food. They contain vitamins C and A, potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium. They’re also low in calories.
Scientists at the USDA Human Nutrition Center compared blueberries to 40 other fresh vegetables and fruits. They ranked blueberries number one in antioxidant power.
The Blueberry’s Protective Effect
Studies show that blueberries provide a natural protection against the following illnesses and diseases:
- Colon cancer
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and other Intestinal diseases
- High blood pressure
- Infections of the urinary tract
- Brain damage from strokes
- Age-related brain disorders
IBD, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are serious autoimmune conditions. IBD causes abdominal cramps, weight loss, bloody diarrhea, and other complications. It also increases your risk of colon cancer.
It turns out that blueberries are loaded with polyphenols. This is a compound that provides antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. When you combine blueberries with probiotics you get a powerful inflammation-fighting substance. You also get increased levels of “good” bacteria.
Blueberries are high in fiber, which is not much degraded in the large intestines. This means the materials that cause inflammation don’t come into contact with your intestinal lining. They are instead embedded in the fiber of the blueberry and eliminated from your body.
Eating a daily dose of blueberries may also help prevent colon cancer. How? They contain pterostilbene, an antioxidant compound with a funny name that packs a health-promoting punch.
Pterostilbene blocks genes associated with inflammation. It’s the inflammation that is believed to be a colon cancer risk factor.
Not only that, but blueberries are a great source of ellagic acid. This is a substance known to inhibit metabolic disorders that can lead to cancer.
Blueberries also help fight excess belly fat and metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes), which can lead to diabetes.
A Daily Dose Can Help Lower Your Blood Pressure
Roughly one adult American in three has high blood pressure. And another 20 percent of all Americans have pre-hypertension. Meaning one in five of all ages may soon get full onset high blood pressure. Clearly, high blood pressure is a serious epidemic in this country.
A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics revealed some interesting facts. For one, eating the humble blueberry is a great strategy for fighting high blood pressure. The study looked at participants with hypertension and arterial stiffness, which boosts their risk of heart disease.
Every day for 8 weeks, half were given a cup’s worth of freeze-dried blueberry powder and the other half a powdered placebo.
By the end of the study the blueberry consumers had 5 percent lower systolic blood pressure and 6 percent lower diastolic pressure. The non-blueberry group showed no changes in blood pressure.
Not only that, but measurements of nitric oxide were much higher with the blueberry consumers, and no change with the control group. Nitric oxide helps open up blood vessels and maintain better overall blood vessel elasticity. The researchers determined that this was directly responsible for a reduction in blood pressure.
Blueberries’ Secret Weapon: Antioxidants
As we’ve seen, blueberries are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They’re low in sugar and high in fiber. But perhaps most importantly, they contain loads of heart-healthy antioxidants.
Recent studies have shown that people who ate more than 3 servings of blueberries a week had a whopping 33 percent lower risk of having a heart attack. This amazing statistic has been linked to the power of flavonoids in the blueberries, called anthocyanins. These are the antioxidants that give the berries their famous blue and purple color. They are also the same antioxidants that help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries and promote healthy blood pressure.
Studies have shown the blueberry’s antioxidants help prevent heart disease by lowering capillary stress and inflammation. They also improve capillary strength and slow the formation of platelets. In short, researchers have concluded that increased consumption of blueberries lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The latest studies suggest that blueberries are a great way to help control a range of health issues, from high blood pressure to heart disease. Researchers suggest eating a cup of blueberries a day for the most benefit. They can be enjoyed raw as a snack, sprinkled on top of cereal, or mixed in with other foods to provide a change of taste.
Combine your blueberry consumption with regular moderate exercise and a sensible overall diet to get the maximum benefit.