Blueberries May Fight Heart Attack, Stroke

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Oct. 1 (UPI) — Blueberries may help prevent harmful plaques of atherosclerosis — hardening of the arteries — from increasing in size in arteries, U.S. researchers say.

Principal investigator Xianli Wu — with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in Little Rock, Ark. — says atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.

The study compared the size, or area, of atherosclerotic lesions in 30 young laboratory mice. Half were fed diets with freeze-dried blueberry powder for 20 weeks — the equivalent of about a half-cup of fresh blueberries — while the rest of the mice did not contain the berry powder.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, finds lesion size, finds lesions measured on two sites on the aorta, were 39 percent and 58 percent smaller, respectively, than lesions in mice whose diet did not contain blueberry powder.

All mice were deficient in apolipoprotein-E, a trait that makes them highly susceptible to forming atherosclerotic lesions, and thus an excellent model for biomedical and nutrition research.

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