We often hear that blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, but we seldom see any actual research on their health benefits. Recently, though, two studies have shown that blueberries lower blood pressure. . . .

The most recent was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of forty postmenopausal women that gave the women either a placebo or 11g of freeze-dried blueberry powder each morning and night for eight weeks: the 22g of blueberry powder is the equivalent of eating one cup of fresh blueberries a day.

While there was no improvement in blood pressure in the placebo group, there was a significant improvement in the blueberry group: systolic blood pressure went down by 5.1% and diastolic blood pressure went down by 6.3%. There was also a significant improvement in a measure of arterial stiffness in the blueberry group, but not in the placebo group. The benefit of the blueberries was likely due to the significant improvement they brought about in nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates the arteries and improves their flexibility (J Acad Nutr Diet 2015;115:369-77).

Just last year, a placebo-controlled study of twenty-five men and postmenopausal women found that the equivalent to one cup a day of fresh blueberries significantly improved systolic blood pressure and aortic and arterial stiffness. The blueberries also significantly lowered diastolic blood pressure in people who actually had high blood pressure (Nutr Res 2014;34:577-84).

These two just published studies are begining to make a strong case for blueberry as a heart healthy food that lowers blood pressure and improves the health of your arteries.

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