In this series of blog posts we will be researching which foods are best suited for people who have concerns about their cardio-vascular health. While people at risk for heart disease typically think about all the foods they are told not to eat, studies have found some possible benefits of adding particular foods to the diet. The first kind of food we are looking at is the blueberry. Second only to the strawberry, the blueberry is the most popular kind of berry eaten in the USA. So what kind of benefits can you expect?
Blueberries are near the top of the list of the most powerful disease-fighting foods. This is because they contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanin is a flavonoid responsible for the blueberries dark blue color and is known for it's potent antioxidant properties. They are also high in vitamin C and heart-healthy fiber and they are available all year round. According to USDA research findings, in a study of over 20 different kinds of fruit, blueberries were found to have the highest antioxidant capacity per serving. The results showed that a one-cup serving of blueberries had more antioxidant capacity than a serving of cranberries, strawberries, plums, raspberries. It was also found that wild blueberries have more potent anti-oxidant properties than cultivated blueberries. Antioxidants are not only linked to heart-health benefits but also have anti-aging and anti-cancer properties.
Blueberries also contain a compound, known as pterostilbene, which appears to have many of the same cholesterol-fighting properties found in the antioxidant resveratrol. Resveratrol is found in grapes and products like red wine. This is the basis of the reports that a glass of red wine is good for your heart. Resveratrol is also found in blueberries but it has been shown in studies that the pterostilbene in blueberries had a much more noteworthy effect on reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at other foods that can help keep your risk of heart disease comfortably low so watch this space!
If your looking for a quick and easy way to include blueberries in your diet, why not try this blueberry banana smoothie for breakfast or a midday snack?