Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another reason to eat blueberries

As science has proven, blueberries have considerable health benefits. Blueberries’ high antioxidant properties help prevent disease as well as assist in memory function.  On top of all this, a recent study has found yet another reason to praise the tiny berry. They may play a role in decreasing the risk of diabetes. Researches in Louisiana were curious to see if blueberries assisted in improving insulin sensitivity in a group of people at a high risk for diabetes. Insulin sensitivity is chosen because it’s a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

The study consisted of participants who were all obese and not diabetic. The participants were split into 2 groups. One group received a smoothie with blueberry powder to be consumed with breakfast and dinner. Another group received a smoothie identical in taste, smell, and color to also consume with breakfast and dinner, but without the blueberry powder. Participants were informed to abstain from any other berries, grapes, and wine throughout the study as this may alter the outcome.

At the completion of the study, participants’ blood glucose levels and their sensitivity to insulin were tested. After the evaluation, the researchers found that 67% of the participants in the blueberry group had a 10% or greater improvement in their insulin sensitivity, compared to only 41% in the control, “non-blueberry” group. This is exciting news especially since blueberries are such a versatile fruit. They taste great in breads, on top of cereals, in smoothies and are just as delicious when eaten alone. Whether you are at risk for diabetes or not, here is another reason why adding blueberries to your healthy eating plan can have a positive effect on overall health.

Cash, K.C., Cefalu, W.T., Champagne, C.M., Johnson, W.D., & Stull, A.J (2010). Bioactives in Blueberries Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Obese, Insulin-Resistant Men and Women. The Journal of Nutrition: Nutrition and Disease, 1764-1768.

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