Norwich, UK—A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that bioactive compounds found in blueberries, anthocyanins, may reduce one’s chances of developing hypertension. 

Researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Harvard monitored 134,000 women along with 47,000 men in a Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for 14 years. No one showed signs of hypertension at the beginning of the study, and participants filled-out health questionnaires every two years, with their dietary intake being surveyed every four years. 

As the study progressed, 35,000 volunteers reported having hypertension. It was established that those who ate the greatest amounts of anthocyanins, from blueberries and strawberries had an 8% lesser chance of being diagnosed with hypertension, versus those who ate the least amounts. 

Says Aedin Cassidy, professor at UEA, “Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension.”

However, this effect was more pronounced in those under 60 years of age. Individuals who ate a single serving of blueberries every week had a 10% less likelihood of having high blood pressure. 

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, March 2011 (online 1/26/11)