Blueberries prevent heart disease and metabolic syndrome
Blueberries are known to bring many health benefits and there have been done many studies that pointed out these beneficial effects. According to a recent research done by scientists at the University of Maine, people who consume two cups of blueberries a day for two months improve their lipid metabolism (by lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride level) and decrease chronic inflammation in the body. Moreover, according to UMaine professor Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, the diet enriched with this fruit can improve the genetic expression of inflammatory markers and others factors involved in fat metabolism.
Professor Klimis-Zacas conducted a study on obese Zucker rats, which are experimental models for metabolic syndrome, a systemic disease including obesity, hypertension, diabetes (glucose intolerance, insulin resistance) and chronic inflammation. The results of the study are promising and valuable especially for people prone to develop type 2 diabetes or coronary artery disease. It is estimated that annually, heart disease leads to the death of approximately 600,000 Americans. Also, it must be mentioned that metabolic syndrome affects more than 37% of adults in the United States and, according to National Health Statistics Reports, this percentage will increase in the future along with obesity.
Professor Klimis-Zacas, who has studied the health effects of bluebberries for 15 years, says it is a great benefit for people to improve their health and prevent degenerative diseases by eating blueberries rather than taking drugs. It is important to note that the Klimis-Zacas’s study is the first to show in vivo that wild blueberries consumption can lower triglyceride levels. Indeed, it was shown that blueberries lower ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and maintain ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
Also the study made on obese mice showed that blueberries have anti-inflammatory effect, and this could be seen by the fact that inflammatory markers in the blood, liver and fat tissue dropped significantly. In addition, it was shown that blueberry-enriched diet regulates gene expression of enzymes involved in lipid metabolism and cholesterol and improves blood lipid profile.
The benefits of blueberries are multiple because they contain lots of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, PP), antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and other micronutrients. This fruit helps strengthen the immune system, delays the aging process, improves eyesight, etc.. A study made on older adults showed that daily consumption of blueberries for 12 weeks improved cognitive function. In addition, we must not forget that this fruit has a small amount of calories, so it can be consumed by people with diabetes.