Friday, December 2, 2011

Blueberry Benefits by Dr. Oz

Okay, it's no news flash that blueberries are nutritious. They've been high on our suggested shopping list for years now, and they're easy to love. Lately, they've been getting more good press than a presidential contender (not hard!). If you were choosing just one fruit to eat every day, a big handful of blueberries -- fresh or frozen -- would be hard to beat. Why?

They make high blood pressure take a nosedive. Eating blueberries daily for just 8 weeks can drop your blood pressure by 4% to 6%. That's a lot. Even more impressive, it works on obese adults with metabolic syndrome, a scary group of risk factors that invites heart disease and diabetes. The "dose": about 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries. Just put a bunch on your cereal and use the rest in this Spinach Salad with Steak and Blueberries recipe. (By the way, blueberries aren't the only blood-pressure-friendly fruit. Cranberries, strawberries, and raspberries help, too.)

They could cut your LDL cholesterol almost in half. Blueberry researchers -- yep, there are people who do nothing else -- believe the berries activate certain genes in your liver cells that help flush out lousy cholesterol by 44%. This happens in just 3 weeks in the lab. Pretty impressive, though more study is needed. (Meanwhile, there's also evidence that eating blueberries every day helps keep your colon healthy and shields your brain against Alzheimer's and premature aging. (Here are even more ways.) What are you waiting for? Get your berries on!

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