Health Portfolio Summer 2015

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Heart Health: Blue Blood

Blueberries have been touted for their vitamin content (C and K) and antioxidant properties, but a recent study found an even more compelling reason to make the fruit part of one’s daily diet: They may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness. In a randomized, double-blind study of postmenopausal women with pre- and stage-1 hypertension, researchers found that daily consumption of freeze-dried blueberry powder—equivalent to about one cup of fresh berries—for eight weeks dropped diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by an average of five points and systolic pressure by an average of seven points. Results also showed a relaxing of arterial walls and an increase in nitric oxide, which may be responsible for the beneficial changes.