Benefits of Blueberries for Heart Disease

Benefits of Blueberries for Heart Disease

August 18, 2019 72 By Bertrand Dibbert


“Benefits of Blueberries
for Heart Disease” In this new review
on the intake of berries and their brightly colored pigments,
called anthocyanins, they note four out of five studies
suggest that increased intake is significantly associated
with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease—the number
one killer of men and women— by between 12 and 32%. That lower range is from
studies of older individuals, and the greater reduction of risk
was noted in younger populations, so perhaps the earlier we start
eating berries the better? And maybe the more, the better—
a 47% drop in heart attack risk for those in the top 10%
of berry consumption. It’s almost like one to one. For every 15 mg increase
a day, a 17% drop in risk. So how can you
get 100 mg a day? By eating less than a half
cup of blueberries a day, my Daily Dozen recommendation
for berry intake. Why the drop in risk though? What do berries have
to do with the heart? There have been over 20
randomized, controlled trials putting berries to the test
in more than 1,000 people and berries were shown to
help control bad cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugars, body
weight, diabetes, and inflammation. Now, lots of plant foods can do this. Is there something
special about berries? Like cholesterol. All whole plant foods have fiber.
Fiber lowers cholesterol. But even blueberry tea
can lower cholesterol, even in kids who are genetically
predisposed to high cholesterol. We used to think only about 1 in 500
people had this high cholesterol gene, but now we’re realizing it may
be as many as 1 in 250. Still, for the 249 others who think high
cholesterol just runs in their family, more likely bad diets are
what’s being passed down. But even if you do
have the gene, what happens when you
give kids blueberry tea— just powdered blueberries in a tea bag
dipped in hot water for five minutes, so they’re not even
eating the whole food. Well, you can imagine
the water turning blue as the pigments
seep into the water, and indeed the antioxidant
capacity of their blood stream increased over the six months
they were in the study. Two things of note here. First of all, no change in the
control group, as expected, but note it took three months for the
tea to start having a significant effect, and then, of course, six months
after they stopped drinking the tea, they were back to
where they started. OK, but what happened
to their cholesterol? No real change in the control group,
but a 30% drop in LDL in the tea group. That’s like what you’d get putting
these kids on a statin drug, and they just had to drink
some yummy tea. But of course, when they stopped the tea,
their cholesterol bounced right back.