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Blueberries Shown To Reduce Blood Vessel Plaque That Causes Cardiovascular Disease

September 29, 2010: 01:17 PM EST

A study by USDA scientists has found that blueberries help prevent damaging plaques or lesions associated with atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. The study compared the size of atherosclerotic lesions in 30 laboratory mice, half of whom were fed diets containing one percent freeze-dried blueberry powder – about a half cup of fresh blueberries – each day for 20 weeks. The mice were lacking in apolipoprotein-E, which makes them highly susceptible to lesions. The researchers measured lesions at two spots on the aorta. The lesions of the blueberry-fed mice were 39 and 58 percent smaller than lesions in the non-blueberry eating mice. Atherosclerosis is the principal cause of heart attacks and strokes. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans.

Xianli Wu, et al., " Dietary Blueberries Attenuate Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E-Deficient Mice by Upregulating Antioxidant Enzyme Expression", Journal of Nutrition, September 29, 2010, © American Society for Nutrition
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