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Blueberries May Help Improve Endothelial Function in People with Metabolic Syndrome

A recent study suggests that blueberry powder-enhanced smoothies may help improve endothelial function in people with metabolic syndrome. Endothelial function is a measure of how well the layer of cells that lines the blood vessels function. Endothelial dysfunction has been shown to increase arterial stiffness.

Participants in the study included 44 people with metabolic syndrome. Over the course of six weeks they were given two smoothies per day with or without 45 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder. The blueberry powder was made from an equal mixture of the highbrush blueberries Tifblue and Rubel and contained 581 mg of anthocyanins and 1,547 mg of total polyphenol bioactives.

No changes in blood pressure or insulin sensitivity were seen in either group at the end of the study. However, they did note significant improvements in endothelial function in the blueberry powder group when compared with the placebo. 73% of the blueberry group had improvements, compared with a decrease in endothelial function in 61% of the placebo group.

Researchers from Louisiana State University System, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, and the University of Pennsylvania conducted the study. It was published on May 27, 2015, in the journal Nutrients. 

Blueberries are high in flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins and flavanols. Previous studies suggest that they may help decrease the risk of dementia, aid in weight management, improve blood vessel function, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.

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


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