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Blueberries and Strawberries Lower Blood Pressure - Proven

Hello all.  Again I sit down to write about a proven natural method of improving your health, without having to take a pill.  I tell patients all the time if they can fix their High Blood Pressure or Blood Sugar naturally and no longer need their pills, it will not hurt my feelings at all, and I'm not joking.

Every day in the clinic I see new patients with High Blood Pressure who are shocked when I tell them their condition is quite likely self-inflicted and probably curable, without having to take pills for life.  No doctor has ever talked to them like this; they have only heard the defeatist, un-empowering "all you can do is take a pill the rest of your life" speech.  Now granted, there are some people who just need blood pressure pills due to their genetics or other medical problems; but in reality, they are few and far between.  As we all continue reclaiming our health, and retaking responsibility for our own well-being, more and more patients will no longer be needing those pills.

With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about a recent study showing that natural substances in berries prevent High Blood Pressure and almost certainly decrease existing High Blood Pressure.  You can read the abstract of the study here.  The more I study and read, the more I find these naturally occuring medicines all around.

Berry Grower's Companion
A Great Book
In this study, Harvard scientists studied 134,000 women and 47,000 men from the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study over a period of 14 years. None of the people studied had High Blood Pressure at the start of the study. Subjects were asked to complete health questionnaires every 2 years and food intake questionnaires every 4 years. New onset High Blood Pressure during the 14-year period was then related to eating various flavonoid-containing foods.  These very large studies were not done initially to study such things as the effects of eating berries on High Blood Pressure.  But, the researchers recorded so much information about the people in the study we are still able to go back and discover new things by picking through the information and crunching the numbers.

The Backyard Berry Book: A Hands-On Guide to Growing Berries, Brambles, and Vine Fruit in the Home Garden
A Great Book
During the course this huge study, 35,000 people developed High Blood Pressure.  When the researchers looked at the relationship of different foods containing flavonoids and their relationship to High Blood Pressure, they found that people consuming the highest amounts of anthocyanins (found mainly in blueberries and strawberries) were eight per cent less likely to be diagnosed with hypertension than those consuming the lowest amounts. These flavonoids had an even larger effect in people under age 60; so that probably means it is better to start eating right younger in life.

The effect was a little stronger for blueberries than strawberries.   Compared to people who ate no blueberries, those eating at least one serving of blueberries per week were 10 per cent less likely to develop High Blood Pressure.  The researchers seemed shocked by their findings:

“Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension ...  Anthocyanins are readily incorporated into the diet as they are present in many commonly consumed foods. Blueberries were the richest source ... Other rich sources of anthocyanins ... include black currants, blood oranges, eggplants, blackberries, red grapes and raspberries.”
I love it that these university researchers were surprised and excited to discover health benefits from eating berries.  If just one serving per week had this kind of effect, just imagine what effects a serving per day might have!

Of course it matters how the blueberry has actually been grown, harvested and treated after the harvest.  After the berries have been processed and put into a can, or frozen, all bets are off as to the contents.  The cheapest and healthiest way to enjoy blueberries and receive the greatest amount of these flavonoids is to grow your own.  It is easy to plant blueberry bushes and strawberry plants in your back yard; it is also easy to care for them, and they will live for decades.  In another article, I have written about organically grown berries having more nutrients than the kind you buy at China-Mart; click on the tasty berries on the right to read it.

Akro-Mils RZJMEDI Medium Stack-A-Pot, 30-Quart
Grow them
on your Deck!
If you just can't grow your own, then the ones at China-Mart are much better than nothing; also in the Winter they'll have to do.  Yes, I know they are pricey, but don't forget the money you will be saving on co-pays for that hand-full of pills you no longer take...  Ms. Bridget and I have a back-yard full of blueberry bushes, raspberry brambles and strawberry plants, and we plan on putting in even more this spring.  We are, to say the least, quite busy with our careers and kids, but we find the time to care for these plants so they will care for us.  More than one sunny morning, I have caught Ms. Bridget and Abby Grace eating our raspberries right off the bramble (yes, without washing them; we put no pesticides on them).

This is just another little reminder that you actually are what you eat.  Eat right and you will prosper and flourish; eat junk and you will suffer, and pay lots of co-pays!


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