Eating some blueberries with your breakfast cereal each day could be all it takes to keep blood pressure at healthy levels and prevent arteries getting stiff.
A cup of the fruit every day could start having a positive impact on your heart health in just eight weeks, say researchers from Florida State University.
They gave a group of 48 post-menopausal women 22 grams-equivalent to one cup-of freeze-dried blueberry powder or a placebo powder every day for eight weeks. By the end of the trial, the women who had been given the blueberry powder had an average decrease in their systolic blood pressure-the first of the two readings-of 7 mmHg, which represents a 5 per cent drop, and a 6.3 per cent reduction in their diastolic pressure level. They also recorded a 6.5 per cent reduction in the stiffness of their arteries.
Levels of nitric oxide, a marker in the blood that is involved in widening blood vessels, had also increased by 68 per cent, and this could also explain the drop in blood pressure levels.
(Source: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2015; doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.11.001)