If you or someone you love struggles with high blood pressure, there is a new tasty way to help combat it. According to a recent paper published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as little as one cup of blueberries per day has shown to help improve blood pressure and lower arterial stiffness for postmenopausal women who are in pre- and stage 1 hypertension.

Conducting the Study

The study, which was done by a team of nutrition and exercise scientists at Florida State University, ran for the course of eight weeks and involved 48 women. Sarah A. Johnson is the assistant director of the Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging (CAENRA) and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University, and helped head up the study.

For the eight-week study, each woman was randomly assigned to receive either 22 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder or 22 grams of a placebo powder. The blueberry powder was equivilant to one cup of fresh blueberries. All other factors of diet and exercise remained the same throughout the study.

Helping Postmenopausal Women

Understanding how certain foods impact nutrition has been an area of study for Johnson, and has driven her desire to understand how to help improve health for postmenopausal women. “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States,” Johnson said. “Once women go through menopause, this puts them at an even greater risk for it. Our findings suggest that the addition of a single food, blueberries, to the diet may mitigate the negative cardiovascular effects that often occur as a result of menopause.”

The Outcome

Each participant in the study had their blood pressure and arterial stiffness measured before it began. By the end of the eight-week study, those women who had taken the blueberry powder had, on average, a 7 mmHg (5.1 percent) decrease in their systolic blood pressure and a 5 mmHg (6.3 percent) reduction in diastolic blood pressure.

Not only that, but the women who took the blueberry powder also had lowered arterial stiffness, by an average of 97 cm/second (6.5%), and nitric oxide increased by 68.5%. The increase in nitric oxide is likely the cause for the lowered blood pressure, which is great news for fruit lovers.

Previous studies have shown the positive effect of blueberries, but never in amounts as little as just one cup per day. With this manageable amount of fruit having a positive impact on your overall heart health and blood pressure levels, you now have one more tasty reason to eat well.

If you are interested in keeping your heart healthy, or if your primary physician recommends that you see an electrophysiologist, contact Dr. Dilip Mathew today. As the leading EP doctor in the Sarasota area, Dr. Mathew helps you understand your risk for heart disease what steps you need to take to live a healthy lifestyle.