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It’s so easy to let good health slowly slip away from you…
Maybe you get a little lazy in your diet because healthy eating is hard (and expensive!).
You stock up on Stouffer’s microwave meals because you’re exhausted at the end of the day. You cave to your cravings for Taco Bell, Arby’s and Chick-fil-A a bit too often. You work your way through all five seasons of “Grace and Frankie” in the evenings instead of going for a walk because Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are (obviously) hilarious.
Pretty soon you’re on the fast track to Metabolic Syndrome Town… population 47 million. You need to get your act together quick before you end up in Diabetes-ville (which is not nearly as fun as Margaritaville), Heart Disease Hamlet or Stroke City.
Now, you hear a lot about metabolic syndrome nowadays. But in case you need a quick refresher, metabolic syndrome is a condition where you have three or more of the following health risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Excess body fat around the waist
- Low levels of (good) HDL cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides
Imagine your doctor telling you that you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol all at once. Talk about a bad day. But really, metabolic syndrome is a gift in disguise. It’s the motivation you need to delete your Taco Bell rewards app, turn off the boob tube (“Grace and Frankie” season six isn’t coming out until 2020 anyway), and start making better choices.
And I know one super smart choice you can start making today… eat more blueberries.
A daily cup of blueberries cuts heart disease risk
A new study from researchers at the University of East Anglia shows that eating a cup of blueberries per day can help you master your metabolic syndrome and significantly reduce your heart disease risk.
The study included 138 overweight and obese people between 50 and 75 years old. They all had Metabolic Syndrome. Over a six-month period, researchers looked at the benefits of eating one cup of blueberries per day and a half cup of blueberries per day versus eating none.
Related: Fuel your brain with blueberries
Once they crunched all the numbers, they found that eating a cup of blueberries per day improved vascular function and reduced arterial stiffness. They estimated that these changes would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 12 to 15 percent.
Why did a daily dose of blueberries make a decent dent in heart disease risk?
Well, it’s probably because they contain flavonoids called anthocyanins. These healthy plant compounds are already proven to reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Go big (or go home) with your daily serving of blueberries
It’s exciting that you can get back on the path to health by simply throwing blueberries in your smoothie every morning. But don’t just toss a few blueberries into the blender and expect to notice a difference at your next doctor’s visit.
In this study, researchers found that eating a half cup of blueberries per day wasn’t enough to reduce heart disease risk. So, higher doses are the way to go. Get out your measuring cup to make sure you’re getting a full cup.
If you get sick of eating blueberries every day, there are other fruits and veggies that contain anthocyanins, so you can add some of these to your diet too:
- Red wine
- Red cabbage
- Red/purple grapes
- Purple sweet potatoes
- Black carrots
- Oranges (especially blood oranges)
- Red onions
- Black rice
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
- Eating blueberries every day improves heart health — MedicalXpress
- Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome—results from a 6-month, double-blind, randomized controlled trial — The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- What Is Metabolic Syndrome? — WebMD