|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
A recent study suggests that blueberry powder supplements may boost the immune system and lower blood pressure in sedentary men and women.
Participants in the study included 25 men and postmenopausal women who were given either the equivalent of 250g of blueberries in the form of blueberry powder or a placebo daily for six weeks.
The researchers measured blood pressure, vascular performance testing, and blood samples at the onset and conclusion of the study.
At the conclusion of the study, the supplement group saw a 4% increase in natural killer cells levels. Natural killer cells are a type of while blood cell that kill infected or tumor cells while sparing healthy cells.
The supplement group also showed reductions in aortic systolic blood pressure when compared with the placebo group. Additionally, participants in the supplement group who were classified as pre-hypertensive at the beginning of the study (blood pressure over 120/80 mmHg) saw significant decreases in diastolic blood pressure compared to baseline values.
Researchers from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 10, 2014, in Nutrition Research.
Previous studies suggest that blueberries may help decrease the risk of dementia, aid in weight management, improve blood vessel function, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
They are easy to add to your diet because they go well with pancakes, salads and smoothies.