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Adding Blueberries to Your Diet may Help Your Heart

A study published in the September 2010 issue of The Journal of Nutrition found that consuming blueberries may help to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and boost heart health.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as having three or more of the following:

1. A waistline greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women

2. Good (HDL) cholesterol under 40mg/dL for men or 50mg/dL for women

3. Triglyceride levels over 150mg/dL

4. Blood pressure over 130/85mm Hg or the use of blood pressure medicine

5. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein

6. Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance

For the study researchers at the University of Oklahoma recruited 48 obese participants with metabolic syndrome (4 males and 44 females). The participants consumed 50 grams per day of either water or a freeze dried blueberry beverage for eight weeks.

The researchers took blood samples, blood pressure readings and assessments of dietary intake at the start, middle and end of the study.

The researchers found that the blueberry group had a greater decrease is systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to the control group. They also observed a decrease in bad cholesterol levels among the blueberry group.

These findings show that blueberries may help to boost heart health and improve numerous risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

Blueberries have the highest level of antioxidants of any common fruit. Previous studies have shown that blueberries may be able to decrease the risk of dementia, aid in weight management and reduce cholesterol.

Blueberries are also easy to add to your diet because they go well with pancakes, salads and smoothies.

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