Blueberries have gotten a lot of attention for their content of resveretrol, the compound that can turn on genes that favor longevity, but that’s not all that blueberries seem to offer to someone looking to age against the machine. Recent research publishing the Journal of Nutrition has found benefits from blueberries not only for general aging but for control of blood sugar and vascular disease as well.
Researchers at Louisiana State University looked at the impact on insulin resistance from adding blueberry compounds to the diet of obese patients beginning to have detectable problems with blood sugar control. What they found was that for these patients who were insulin resistant but not yet diabetic, their insulin sensitivity improved overall. Unfortunately, they didn’t see significant changes in body fat, energy intake, and inflammatory biomarkers. They didn’t use whole blueberries but instead used a daily dietary supplement powder with bioactive compounds from whole blueberries added to smoothies.
Looking at vascular disease, researchers at the USDA in Arkansas looked at the impact on plaques that form in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). They supplemented the diets of mice particularly susceptible to this vessel disease with blueberry powder. What they found was that the size of vascular plaques in mice who got the blueberry powder was between 39 and 58 percent less than that of lesions in mice whose diet did not contain blueberry powder.
Both of these are big news for little berries. While supplements containing just resveretrol are out there, it’s not enough to presume that the dark juiciness of blueberries just yields that handy compound. The other compounds in blueberries are at least as important for tempering the diseases can plague an aging body. All the more reason to give raw fruits and vegetables a prominent place in your diet.