The benefits were also linked to an increase in levels of nitric oxide (NO), which were found to increase from 9.11 to 15.35 micromoles over the course of the study. NO is a potent vasodilator, helping to relax the walls of blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the effects of blueberries on arterial function as was done in this study, as well as in this study population,” said corresponding author Bahram Arjmandi, PhD. “These findings suggest that blueberries may prevent the progression of full-blown hypertension.”
“Considering the prevalence of hypertension in the US, preventive strategies such as dietary modifications (e.g. functional foods and dietary supplements) that aim to improve hypertension and its related complications are warranted.”
Growing Interest Based on Research
“Compelling” data published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that blueberry flavonoids could boost endothelial function and enhance heart health.
Endothelial dysfunction may play an important role in the increases in blood pressure that occur after menopause. Further, endothelial dysfunction is known to increase arterial stiffness, which is involved in the development and progression of both hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
The exact way in which flavonoids affect the brain are unknown, but they have previously been shown to cross the blood brain barrier after dietary intake.
An acute dose of blueberries (300 grams) was found to be associated with an 18% decrease in DNA damage to blood cells due to oxidative stress, according to findings published in Nutrition Research.