Blueberries contain phytonutrients which can help lower LDL cholesterol even better than drugs, without the risk of side effects. These phytonutrients are found in the skin of the blueberry and they are called anthocyanins.
According to research just reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week appears to slash women's risk of a heart attack by about one-third.
The scientists behind the study, who are from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia in the UK, note there are high levels of dietary flavonoids in blueberries and strawberries. These flavonoids are also found in grapes and wine, blackberries, eggplant, and other fruits. According to the research, these flavonoids, called anthocyanins, help keep arteries open, and may provide other cardiovascular benefits -- including preventing the buildup of plaque. Too much plaque can cause heart attacks.
Additionally, a new study by Tufts University researchers has found that following a diet rich in berries may slow down the aging process of the brain and keep it sharp. Blueberries dramatically slows impairments in motor coordination and memory that are the usual accompaniments of aging.
In tests on rabbits, doctors in Paris and Budapest found that the flavonoids in bluberries were effective in reducing the damage caused to brain blood vessels from a high-cholesterol diet. Proper blood flow to the brain is essential for mental energy and health, it looks like blueberries may very well help improve brain function.