Eating a cup of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by up to 15 per cent, according to a study.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that blueberries and other berries should be included in diets to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
"Having metabolic syndrome significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes and often statins and other medications are prescribed to help control this rise," said study lead author Aedin Cassidy, Professor at the University of East Anglia in Britain.
The researchers studied whether eating blueberries had any effect on metabolic syndrome - a condition, affecting 1/3 of westernised adults, which comprises at least three of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, low levels of 'good cholesterol' and high levels of triglycerides.
For the study, the researchers investigated the effects of eating blueberries daily in 138 overweight and obese people, (aged between 50 and 75), and having metabolic syndrome.
"We found that eating one cup of blueberries per day resulted in sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness - making enough of a difference to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by between 12 and 15 per cent," said Peter Curtis, co-author of the study.