It always amazes me when we throw money at studies to analyze the things we already know. And if there’s one thing we in the nutrition industry have always known, it’s the heart-protecting power of blueberries.
But since this latest finding sums up everything my work as a doctor stands for, I felt it was still worth a share. If nothing else, it’s a compelling reminder of how much of an impact nutrition can have on your health.
Slash heart risk in just 28 days
According to new research, eating the equivalent of 100 grams of blueberries—that’s about one cup—twice a day for four weeks can drop systolic blood pressure as effectively as hypertension drugs.
And I’m not surprised at all. Blueberries are packed with polyphenols—most particularly anthocyanins. These are the compounds that give berries their pigment. They also happen to deliver various benefits to your heart.
In fact, data from the huge Nurses’ Health Study linked a high intake of blueberries and strawberries with a significantly lower risk of heart attack. But of course, that study only showed an association rather than a direct correlation.
So, this new study took things a step further to demonstrate a direct link between higher anthocyanin intake and improved heart health benefits.
It featured 40 healthy men—half assigned to take 11 grams of blueberry powder twice daily, and half assigned to a placebo drink. And after four weeks, the difference between the two groups was significant.
For one thing, 24-hour systolic blood pressure levels had dropped by an average of 5.6 mm Hg in the men taking the blueberry powder. And when researchers looked at flow-mediated dilation (FMD)—a measure of how well blood moves through your arteries—they noted a 2.3 percent increase.
To give you some perspective, every one percent increase in FMD lowers your risk of heart disease by ten percent. So we’re talking about more than a 20 percent reduction in risk after just 28 days.
I can’t think of a bigger win for patients. Because who wouldn’t want to lower their blood pressure with blueberries in place of potentially harmful blood pressure medications?
Diet before drugs any day of the week
But despite this finding, the researchers still seem clueless.
They say that they “believe” the antioxidant-rich anthocyanins are behind the lightning fast improvement in endothelial function—your arteries’ ability to expand and contract in order to balance blood pressure.
And all I can say is, hmm… you think?!
This may be the first study to directly link blueberry anthocyanin consumption (and their circulating metabolites) to a boost in vascular function. But there have been many, many studies like this before. Which is exactly why there are already so many pill and powder versions of these powerful antioxidants.
A thorough understanding of how fruits and vegetables work to heal the body is vital as a scientist. And any research that backs up nutritional interventions is good news in my book.
But this concept is nothing new. In fact, this has always been my first approach to slowing down cardiovascular aging (not to mention neurodegeneration, cancer, and many other diseases). Which is why I will prescribe diet along with exercise before I write a prescription for medication any day of the week.
Granted, I’m not a big fan of eating fruit. But the ones I do give exception to are low-sugar berries in moderate amounts. I discussed the healing benefits of berries in the March 2016 issue of Logical Health Alternatives (“New research reveals huge healing benefits from tiny fruit”). If you’re not a subscriber, now’s the perfect time to get started. Click here today!
That said, in order to achieve the intakes used in this study, you’re better off using a supplement to deliver the best of both worlds—a hefty dose of polyphenols and anthocyanins—without the sugar. Go to www.DrPescatore.com and click on the “shop” tab to see what may be available to you!
P.S. In addition to the anthocyanins in blueberries, there’s a whole world of possibilities for you to reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, I’ve developed my own all-natural plan to prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It’s called my Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol. To learn more about this innovative, interactive online learning tool, or to sign up today, click here.
“’Blue’ in Blueberries Tied to BP Lowering that Rivals Medication.” Medscape Medical News, 03/01/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/909717)