Washington: A new research has revealed that regular long-term wild blueberry diets may help improve or prevent pathologies associated with the metabolic syndrome, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Wild blueberries are a rich source of phytochemicals called polyphenols, which have been reported by a growing number of studies to exert a wide array of protective health benefits and the study by researchers at the University of Maine adds to this growing body of evidence.
"The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a group of risk factors characterized by obesity, hypertension, inflammation, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, and endothelial dysfunction," Dr. Klimis-Zacas , a Professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Maine and a co-author of the study explained.
"We have previously documented the cardiovascular benefits of a polyphenol-rich wild blueberry in a rat model with impaired vascular health and high blood pressure, our new findings show that these benefits extend to the obese Zucker rat, a widely used model resembling human MetS," Klimis-Zacas said.
According to the study, wild blueberry consumption (2 cups per day, human equivalent) for 8 weeks was shown to regulate and improve the balance between relaxing and constricting factors in the vascular wall, improving blood flow and blood pressure regulation of obese Zucker rats with metabolic syndrome.
The researcher said the study documented that wild blueberries reduce chronic inflammation and improve the abnormal lipid profile and gene expression associated with the MetS.
The study is published in journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.