Blueberries and High Blood Pressure

September 26, 2010 by  
Filed under health

My own blood pressure went up over the summer so I have been keeping an eye on the numbers every week. My increase in exercise and eating better I believe have again made a difference. ( My very first blog post was called “Biking my Weight Off” about losing weight to help decrease my blood pressure ) The last two weeks I have recorded normal numbers. Today I checked with 120/75. Earlier in the summer it got high as 150/98. I don’t know why my numbers got so high, but I plan to continue to keep careful watch.

As we all know, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and that is very serious indeed.  Cancer gets a great deal of press (for good reason) , but the facts are heart disease is the number 1 killer in America. So doing everything I can to keep my numbers normal is a big priority. As a result, I have been reading a great deal on what can keep blood pressure numbers normal.

Most recently, I read about two new studies, in Orlando Sentinel, about how the low-sugar fruit of blueberries may help folks at risk of  high blood pressure. I want to share this information with you. I wrote another blog post about blueberries called “Another Reason to Love Blueberries”

A team of researchers at Oklahoma State University recently found that consuming  blueberries every day  can help reduce some heart risk factors, such as high blood pressure. Published in the Journal of Nutrition, the study researchers wondered weather eating blueberries, which are very high in dietary antioxidants, would help patients with metabolic syndrome  who were at risk of hypertension
Arpita Basu, an Oklahoma State University nutritional sciences professor and lead author of a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, found a seven- to eight-point drop in the systolic blood pressure of 66 pre-hypertensive men and women who included a blueberry drink in their diet once a day for eight weeks.

The participants in the study were a group of 66 men and women with pre-hypertension, meaning their blood pressure was elevated.  “They were above normal, but not quite at the stage of being diagnosed with hypertension,” said Arpita Basu, an OSU nutritional sciences professor and the lead author.

In the eight-week study, one group of patients drank a beverage made from two cups of blended frozen blueberries once a day — and continued to eat a normal diet. Another group of patients drank an equivalent amount of fluids and ate their standard diet.

After eight weeks, Basu said, researchers saw a seven- to eight-point drop in the systolic blood pressure of patients who had been drinking the blueberry beverage. Additionally, the patients received the benefits of antioxidants in the berries, as well, she said. Basu said consuming one or two servings of blueberries per day can help both pre-hypertensive and hypertensive patients get control of their glucose levels.

This is early research to be sure, but I plan to include even more blueberries into my own lifestyle. Thank God I love to eat them!

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