Would it be possible that a cup of blueberries might keep the doctor away? The answer is probably yes. The fruit is commonly known for its antioxidant properties and now it has been found that they also contribute to lowering the blood pressure.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has concluded that people who ate a blueberry preparation had an average of 5.1% decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 6.3% decrease in diastolic pressure.
The researchers carried out the study by using a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled method. The study group was 40 postmenopausal women aged between 45 to 65 years. Each of these women had high blood pressure. Half of the group was given 22 grams of dried blueberry powder to eat every day for eight week. This represented about one cup of blueberries. The other half of the group ate a placebo which looked and tasted the same.
Those who consumed the real blueberry preparation saw an increase in the level of nitric oxide in their body. Nitric oxide is known to contribute to the widening of blood vessels and to relax them. There were no significant changes in the health of those who had the placebo preparation.
The overall improvement to blood pressure from the blueberry consumption was quite moderate, especially if compared to medicines. However, scientists believe that consuming blueberries in a larger quantity and for a longer period might increase its effect on blood pressure.