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Blueberries May Fight Hardening of the Arteries

Blueberries have been recently identified as the most antioxidant packed common fruit on the market. Now a recent lab study shows they may help fight atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of two forms of cardiovascular disease – heart attacks and strokes.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas and the findings were published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

For the study researchers split 30 lab mice into two groups. One of the groups was given a diet supplemented with freeze dried blueberries for 20 weeks and the other was given a normal diet.

At the end of the 20 week intervention the researchers measured the area of atherosclerotic lesions at two points on the aorta (arteries leading from the heart.) Lesion size is a good indicator of arterial hardening.

The researchers found that the mice given the blueberry supplement had a 39% and 58% reduction in lesion size at the two points on the aorta compared to the other group of mice.

Previous research has linked blueberries to improvements in cardiovascular health but this is the first study to provide direct evidence to back that association.

There are numerous other reasons to eat more blueberries apart from their potential ability to keep your heart healthy. Blueberries have been shown to decrease the risk of dementia, aid in weight management and even help build muscle.

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

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