Dubbed “the silent killer” because it has no visible symptoms in its early stages, hypertension affects approximately 1 in 3 adults and often the result is sudden death, in fact 20% of all sudden deaths in Australia are from non-symptomatic heart attacks. Hypertension puts a strain on the cardiovascular system which in the long run may contribute to heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure.
Along with broccoli, spinach, pulses, and fish, berries may also reduce heart disease, due to their antioxidant polyphenols. The phytochemicals that give blueberries their blue colour can significantly improve cardiovascular health, finds a new two-part study
The positive effect that blueberries can have on blood pressure is comparable to that of hypertension drugs.
New research zooms in on the cardiovascular effects of blueberries and finds that anthocyanins — the phytochemicals that give blueberries their colour mediate the beneficial effects that this fruit has on the cardiovascular system. The lead author of the study is Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, Ph.D., from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London, in the United Kingdom. The researchers published their findings in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A.
Anthocyanins and blood pressure
Rodriguez-Mateos and her colleagues recruited 40 study participants who were in perfect health and randomly divided them into two groups: One received a daily drink consisting of 200 grams (g) of blueberries, and another group received a control drink.
In the second part of the study, the researchers compared drinking blueberries with drinking purified anthocyanins or control drinks that had concentrations of fibre, minerals, or vitamins equivalent to those in blueberries.
Blood pressure decreases by 5 mm Hg
The scientists noticed the beneficial effects of the blueberry drinks only 2 hours after the participants had consumed them. “Purified anthocyanins exerted a dose-dependent improvement of endothelial function in healthy humans, as measured by [FMD],” report the authors. The endothelium is a type of membrane inside the heart and blood vessels. It contains endothelial cells that help control the dilation and contraction of the arteries. Endothelial cells also help keep blood pressure in check and play a key role in blood clotting.
The authors continue, “[t]he effects were similar to those of blueberries containing similar amounts of anthocyanins, while control drinks containing fibre, minerals, or vitamins had no significant effect.”
After a month of having 200 g of blueberries each day, the participants’ blood pressure decreased by 5 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), on average. The researchers note that such a decrease is usually obtained with medication.
“Our results identify anthocyanin metabolites as major mediators of vascular bioactivities of blueberries and changes of cellular gene programs,” conclude the researchers. Rodriguez-Mateos comments on the findings, saying, “although it is best to eat the whole blueberry to get the full benefit, our study finds that the majority of the effects can be explained by anthocyanins.” The scientists explain that anthocyanins “circulate in [the] blood as phenolic acid metabolites.”
Not sure how good your heart health is? Then why not book in and have a Heart Health Screen at one of our clinics. At $175.00 it is a small investment that will take the stress and uncertainty out of knowing how healthy your heart is. Live longer by choice not by chance, don’t become a victim of sudden death from a preventable condition.
Follow this link for more information https://oleahealth.com.au/heart-screening/ and make the choice to live longer, by making an appointment with Olea Health today.