Berries are a precious source of antioxidants, vitamins and mineral salts beneficial for health. Now we also know that these fruits, in particular blueberries, protect the cardiovascular system, according to a study published a few weeks ago in the Journal of Gerontology Series A by a team of King’s College London.
The scientists have given to 40 healthy volunteers, every day for a month, a drink containing 200 grams of blueberries by checking any changes in blood pressure and in the flow mediated dilation (FMD). The FMD is a measure of how the artery widens when blood flow increases and indicates the health status of the endothelium, namely the tissue that covers the blood vessels, in particular it is considered a marker of the cardiovascular risk. The researchers observed that the drink has been able to lower the blood pressure and to improve the FMD factor and the endothelial function already after two hours from the ingestion and for a month. In order to understand the mechanism of action the scientists gave in another study a drink containing only anthocyanins, that are the antioxidants responsible for the blue color of blueberries, then a different drink containing fibers, another drink with vitamins and mineral salts, in similar quantities found in blueberry juice. Only the drink with anthocyanins has shown the same protective effects on the cardiovascular system as the blueberry drink and, thanks to this observation, the scientists have concluded that the reason of the observed benefits are the anthocyanins. A great result because, as claimed by Dr Ana Rodriguez-Mateo, lead researchers of the experiment, if the changes in blood vessels registered after the ingestion of blueberries could be sustained for the whole life, this could lead to a 20% lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.