Blueberries: A Healthy Snack for a Heart-Healthy Diet
The latest news about one of our favorite superfoods has us singing Blueberries for Breakfast along with The Mamas & The Papas. True, we've been touting the healthy virtues of the tiny blue fruit at least since Dr. Mike wrote The RealAge Diet a decade ago. Now there's a new reason to break into song: For the first time, a USDA study proves that blueberries help prevent plaque in your arteries from becoming bigger. Ultimately -- if everyone starts snacking on them -- we may see less atherosclerosis, the major cause of heart attack and stroke. Here's how to boost the benefits of blueberries.
Researchers don't know how blueberries work their wonders -- their polyphenols are suspects -- but they found that when mice ate diets spiked with a dried-berry powder, tiny plaques in their main arteries grew to only half the size as similar ones in mice who didn't eat the powder. That's good news because large plaques are a hallmark of cardiovascular disease. The scientists now want to find out if it's best to start a lifelong blueberry habit as a baby. Our guess is yes -- the sooner, the better.
Blueberries are also linked to skin, eye, and urinary health as well as to a lower risk of cancer and diabetes. As they go out of season and become too pricey to eat by the handful, go for frozen ones. Look for organic, too. Sprinkle a few in your hot cereal, toss some in a salad 15 minutes before serving, add ½ cup to your smoothie ingredients. A cup a day is joy forever, for your heart and your skin. Try getting your cup a day a different way.