Blueberries may help lower blood pressure and make arteries more flexible.
Researchers randomly assigned 48 postmenopausal women with prehypertension or hypertension (high blood pressure) to eat a daily dose of freeze-dried blueberry powder or a fake blueberry powder made of sugar, maltodextrin, and artificial colors and flavors. The dose of freeze-dried blueberry powder (22grams) was equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries.
After two months, systolic blood pressure dropped by an impressive 7 points and diastolic pressure fell by 5 points in the freeze-dried-blueberry eaters, but neither budged in those who got the imitation blueberry. What’s more, the arteries of the blueberry eaters—but not the fake-blueberry eaters—were less stiff than they were when the people entered the study.
What to do: Eat more blueberries. This study doesn’t prove that the fruit will lower blood pressure and make arteries less stiff. It’s possible that another fruit might be equally effective, that freeze-dried blueberries work better than fresh blueberries, or that the impact of blueberries would wane over time.
But with such a flavor-rich, fiber-rich, vitamin-rich, low-calorie fruit, what have you got to lose?
J. Acad. Nutr. Diet. 115: 369, 2015