Blueberries can reduce inflammation and improve metabolism, new research shows
Eating blueberries can help reduce chronic inflammation, improve metabolism and lower cholesterol, according to a new study from the University of Maine.
Professor Dorothy Klimis-Zacas and her colleagues found that eating two cups of wild blueberries a day for two months could help normalize gene expression of inflammatory markers and those related to fat metabolism. The findings suggest how the fruit's properties could therefore reduce the risk of things like coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Overall anti-inflammatory effect
The obese male Zucker rat provided a valid experimental model for human metabolic syndrome, Klimis-Zacas wrote, which is a condition characterized by obesity, chronic inflammation, glucose intolerance and hypertension. Metabolic syndrome effects about 37 percent of adults, and it is expected to continue rising in relationship to obesity rates.
The study is the first to show that wild blueberries can low triglycerides, which clog blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attack, in the blood. The blueberries appeared to also maintain the level of "good" HDL cholesterol, showing an overall anti-inflammatory effect in the obese rats.
Diet over drugs
Klimis-Zacas' research supports another 2012 study that found blueberries – and other fruits rich in the flavanoid anthocyanins – can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes by about 23 percent.
Rather than relying on pharmaceuticals, eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can be a powerful way to help prevent degenerative disease, the authors noted.
Results of the study were published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.