Blueberries cut fat effects

Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) were originally a wild crop, growing in cold swamps in northern America and Europe. They were introduced to Australia in the 1960s and grow on bushes in clusters and, unlike other berries, do not continue to ripen after picking. The pigments that colour the fruit are also the ones that provide antioxidant effects and these days berries are hailed as a ‘super food’. Although that is a term tossed around with loose abandon by marketers these days, blueberries are one of the foods that probably do deserve the title and a new study has added to that blueberry reputation.

Blueberries have been show to be good for your eyes, brain, memory, blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol. With such an array of qualities in mind these researchers wanted to see whether blueberries might fight the effects of a high fat diet.

To study this they fed mice a high diet for three months but some of the mice had a diet that was comprised of between five and 10 per cent blueberry. After the three months all mice had tests to measure inflammation (via inflammatory cell and cytokine levels), blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and weight gain.

The high fat diet caused the mice to experience weight gain, adverse changes in glucose and fat metabolism, increased inflammation, and increased blood pressure. However, the mice given blueberries had less inflammation and lower blood pressure suggesting that blueberries can indeed reduce these effects arising from a high fat diet.

None of this is to suggest that having a punnet of blueberries at your side when your pull in to a fast-food drive-thru should do anything to salve your conscience. What it does show is that eating a majority of good foods counteracts a few little indulgences you may choose.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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