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Blueberries Rival Medication in Lowering Blood Pressure

In a recent study of people with health conditions, those who had freeze-dried blueberries added to their diets every day experienced significant improvements in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure after just eight weeks.

Researchers think that nutrients in blueberries may help soften blood pressure by increasing body levels of enzymes that relax blood vessels. These enzymes also support healthy endothelium -- those fragile cells that line blood vessel walls. And the blueberry lovin' may be particularly helpful for people with sub-par health. In the study, all of the men and women were obese (body mass index of 30 or more) and had metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of health risk factors that can lead to diabetes or heart disease.

The quantity of blueberries consumed during the study was equivalent to over two cups of fresh berries per day. Eating blueberries daily for just 8 weeks can drop your blood pressure by 4% to 6%. Even more impressive, it works on obese adults with metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that invites heart disease and diabetes.

Blueberries aren't the only way to get some blood-pressure-friendly berry nutrition into your diet. Similar benefits have also been seen in studies with cranberries, strawberries, raspberries and lingonberries as well as other fresh fruit.

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