They call hypertension “the silent killer” for a reason. Blood pressure is sneaky.
It can creep up on you without any significant symptoms. And then one day, without warning, BAM your doctor diagnoses you with hypertension.
If you already have high blood pressure, you know how tough it can be to live with. Keeping your numbers in check is a daily challenge.
And the drugs they put you on can make you feel WORSE than hypertension ever did. Common side effects include cough, bowel problems, dizziness, lack of energy, nausea, and erection problems.
But improving blood flow and bringing down blood pressure could be a lot easier, not to mention TASTIER than you’ve ever imagined. And all it requires is a trip to the produce aisle of your local grocery store for some blueberries.
Think that sounds too good to be true? I assure you it’s not.
In fact, there’s a growing stack of studies to back it up. And we now have some solid research on WHY it works, too.
I’ll tell you more about that new study in a moment. But first, let’s take a quick look at the growing evidence behind blueberries heart and blood pressure benefits.
Blueberries linked to better blood pressure
The evidence is clear. Blueberries should be on your menu if you are concerned about heart health and blood pressure.
They’re brimming with phytonutrients that can help you get and stay healthy. For example, they’re rich in blood-vessel-friendly flavonoids, phenolic acids, and stilbenes. Plus, their antioxidant counts are off the charts.
Which is why in a study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, blueberries were shown to be a potent weapon against metabolic syndrome.
The berries lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, headed off the fat oxidation that causes clogged arteries, and reduced insulin resistance.
In another study, their ability to fight stiff arteries and high blood pressure were confirmed. Ladies who ate a daily dose of blueberries for two months had significant drops in both their systolic and diastolic numbers.
And according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a weekly serving of blueberries was linked to a 10 percent lower risk of developing hypertension.
It’s easy to see that blueberries are a must for anyone with serious concerns about their blood pressure and heart health. But now we have a better idea WHAT makes them a cardiovascular superfood.
Blueberries may work as well as BP drugs
A research team from King’s College London had a hunch anthocyanins were behind the vascular and blood pressure benefits of blueberries. So they recruited a group of 40 healthy volunteers for a study to find out.
Anthocyanins are the flavonoid that gives blueberries their beautiful blue color. And it turns out they’re likely ALSO the nutrient responsible for the better blood pressure we see in blueberry fans.
The researchers randomly assigned participants to receive either a drink containing 200 grams of blueberries or look-alike control beverages, daily.
After a month the blueberry group had remarkable improvements in their blood vessel function. Plus, they saw significant drops in their systolic blood pressure. In fact, the blueberry drink performed as well as some prescription drugs, reducing blood pressure by 5mmHG.
On the other hand, none of the control drinks (despite the addition of extra fiber, minerals, or vitamins in some cases) had a significant effect on blood vessel function or blood pressure. The absence of anthocyanins appears to have made them ineffective.
And the new study found the anthocyanins work FAST too. Within TWO hours of downing the blueberry drink improvements in blood vessel function and blood pressure were seen.
To match the amount of blueberries the volunteers were getting you’d need to eat just shy of two cups a day. But I realize even for blueberry fans that might be tough, so you’ll also find anthocyanins in…
- berries (blackberries, cherries, strawberries, and cranberries)
- red apples
- purple potatoes
- red cabbage
- plums (and prunes)
- red beans
- grapes and raisins (red and purple)
- red onions
- red wine
So go ahead and make blueberries a part of YOUR regular routine. If you’re on blood pressure meds, have a talk with your doctor about reducing your dosage or getting off of them once you see improvements.