Benefits of Blueberries for Artery Function

Benefits of Blueberries for Artery Function
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What is the optimum dose of wild blueberries to eat at a meal?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“A single serving of blueberry [can help mediate the] arterial dysfunction induced [by smoking a cigarette].” They “investigated the effect of a single serving of…frozen blueberr[ies on] young smokers.” Smoke a single cigarette, and the ability of your arteries to relax naturally drops 25% within two hours. But, eat two cups of blueberries a hundred minutes before, and that same cigarette causes less than half the damage, demonstrating that “a single [big] serving of…frozen blueberry could counteract the [artery] dysfunction induced by smoking.” However, of course, it should be noted that “blueberry consumption cannot be considered a means of preventing health consequences due to smoking; this can only be realized by” stopping smoking, or even better, not smoking in the first place.

Two cups of blueberries is a lot, though. Yeah, you could easily chug those down in a smoothie, but what’s like the minimum dose? We didn’t know, until a group of British researchers decided to put it to the test. To enable them to do a double-blind study, they had to create a placebo control fake blueberry drink. So, they used a freeze-dried wild blueberry powder to give people the equivalent of three-quarters of a cup of fresh wild blueberries, one and a half cups, one and three-quarters, about three cups, or four cups. They concluded “[b]lueberry intake acutely improves [artery] function in a[n] intake-dependent manner.”

Okay, so what’s the optimal intake? After the placebo, nothing happens. But, after eating one and three-quarter cup’s worth of blueberries, a big spike in artery function improvement within just one hour of consumption. And, that seems to be where the effect maxes out. Less than a cup is good, but between one and two cups seems better, with no benefit going beyond that in a single meal.

Can you cook them? What if you put them in a blueberry pie or something? The same remarkable improvement in artery function baked into a bun—just spiking an hour later, since solid food passes more slowly through your stomach.

And, then, if you eat blueberries week after week, you get chronic benefits too, in terms of reduced artery stiffness, and a boost in your natural killer cells, which are one of your body’s natural first lines of defense against viral infections and cancer. But wait a second; how can blueberries have all these amazing effects, if the anthocyanins, the blue pigments in blueberries purported to be the active ingredients, hardly even make it into our system? Women were given more than a cup of blueberries to eat, and the researchers couldn’t find hardly any in their bloodstream or flowing through their urine.

Here’s what’s called a chromatogram, with the spikes showing all the little anthocyanin peaks in blueberries. Here’s your blood before eating blueberries: obviously no sign of the pigments. After one hour, you start to see them appear, and a few hours after that, they become a bit more distinct. But, all in all, just a few billionths of a gram per milliliter show up. So: “Either anthocyanins are extremely potent, and, therefore, active at low [parts-per-billion blood] concentrations or [somehow] their bioavailability has been underestimated.” So, researchers decided to radioactively tag them and trace them throughout the body.

What happens is that blueberry pigments are metabolized by our liver and our microbiome—the good bacteria in our gut—into these active metabolites that are then what’s absorbed into our system. So, it’s kind of a team effort to benefit from berries.

And, that would solve this mystery as well. Anyone notice this second spike in benefits over here at six hours? How does that make sense? Well, some of the metabolites peak in the bloodstream within an hour, but others ramp up more slowly, especially if the berries have to make it all the way down into the colon. And, it’s not just spikes at one hour and six hours. If you track them out even further, some go up even more. So, like a day later, we may still be experiencing berry benefits as our gut bacteria continue to churn out goodies that get absorbed back into our system, feeding us as we feed them. Eating blueberries can so feed our good bacteria that it’s like taking a natural probiotic: a win-win all around.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: veeterzy via Unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“A single serving of blueberry [can help mediate the] arterial dysfunction induced [by smoking a cigarette].” They “investigated the effect of a single serving of…frozen blueberr[ies on] young smokers.” Smoke a single cigarette, and the ability of your arteries to relax naturally drops 25% within two hours. But, eat two cups of blueberries a hundred minutes before, and that same cigarette causes less than half the damage, demonstrating that “a single [big] serving of…frozen blueberry could counteract the [artery] dysfunction induced by smoking.” However, of course, it should be noted that “blueberry consumption cannot be considered a means of preventing health consequences due to smoking; this can only be realized by” stopping smoking, or even better, not smoking in the first place.

Two cups of blueberries is a lot, though. Yeah, you could easily chug those down in a smoothie, but what’s like the minimum dose? We didn’t know, until a group of British researchers decided to put it to the test. To enable them to do a double-blind study, they had to create a placebo control fake blueberry drink. So, they used a freeze-dried wild blueberry powder to give people the equivalent of three-quarters of a cup of fresh wild blueberries, one and a half cups, one and three-quarters, about three cups, or four cups. They concluded “[b]lueberry intake acutely improves [artery] function in a[n] intake-dependent manner.”

Okay, so what’s the optimal intake? After the placebo, nothing happens. But, after eating one and three-quarter cup’s worth of blueberries, a big spike in artery function improvement within just one hour of consumption. And, that seems to be where the effect maxes out. Less than a cup is good, but between one and two cups seems better, with no benefit going beyond that in a single meal.

Can you cook them? What if you put them in a blueberry pie or something? The same remarkable improvement in artery function baked into a bun—just spiking an hour later, since solid food passes more slowly through your stomach.

And, then, if you eat blueberries week after week, you get chronic benefits too, in terms of reduced artery stiffness, and a boost in your natural killer cells, which are one of your body’s natural first lines of defense against viral infections and cancer. But wait a second; how can blueberries have all these amazing effects, if the anthocyanins, the blue pigments in blueberries purported to be the active ingredients, hardly even make it into our system? Women were given more than a cup of blueberries to eat, and the researchers couldn’t find hardly any in their bloodstream or flowing through their urine.

Here’s what’s called a chromatogram, with the spikes showing all the little anthocyanin peaks in blueberries. Here’s your blood before eating blueberries: obviously no sign of the pigments. After one hour, you start to see them appear, and a few hours after that, they become a bit more distinct. But, all in all, just a few billionths of a gram per milliliter show up. So: “Either anthocyanins are extremely potent, and, therefore, active at low [parts-per-billion blood] concentrations or [somehow] their bioavailability has been underestimated.” So, researchers decided to radioactively tag them and trace them throughout the body.

What happens is that blueberry pigments are metabolized by our liver and our microbiome—the good bacteria in our gut—into these active metabolites that are then what’s absorbed into our system. So, it’s kind of a team effort to benefit from berries.

And, that would solve this mystery as well. Anyone notice this second spike in benefits over here at six hours? How does that make sense? Well, some of the metabolites peak in the bloodstream within an hour, but others ramp up more slowly, especially if the berries have to make it all the way down into the colon. And, it’s not just spikes at one hour and six hours. If you track them out even further, some go up even more. So, like a day later, we may still be experiencing berry benefits as our gut bacteria continue to churn out goodies that get absorbed back into our system, feeding us as we feed them. Eating blueberries can so feed our good bacteria that it’s like taking a natural probiotic: a win-win all around.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: veeterzy via Unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

This is the first of an extended series of videos I’m doing on the latest berry research. Wait a second; tastes great and you get to live longer? That’s what plant-based eating is all about!

What else can blueberries do? Check out:

But wait: How Much Fruit Is Too Much? Watch the video!

What about all the fructose in fruit? Got a video on that too: If Fructose Is Bad, What About Fruit?

What about fancier options, like açai berries? See: The Benefits of Açai vs. Blueberries for Artery Function and The Antioxidant Effects of Açai vs. Apples.

What about the effects of other foods on artery function? Check out:

And don’t forget I now have an audio podcast, which you can subscribe to on your favorite “pod-catcher” or listen to at NutritionFacts.org/audio.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

121 responses to “Benefits of Blueberries for Artery Function

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  1. Triphalia question……..

    does anyone have any positive experience with it for GI issues? I have heard that
    some people have success with it for constipation but that after staying on this Indian-trio of fruit extracts
    for a month or they started to develop pain in body and some other unpleasant reactions. AMLA is a nightshade
    and it is in Triphalia so maybe that was a cause of bad reactions. No amount of fiber seems to help my constipation,
    and senna and at the purgatives are not without their own host of reasons to avoid, but some folks really swear
    by Triphalia, apparently takes a while to start working. Thanks for any feedback.

    1. I’m seriously allergic to tomatoes and can’t eat them at all. I can’t consume amla because it aggravates sinus problems. I have no problem with triphala as long as I don’t consume a lot of it. If you have started taking triphala recently, it might be a good idea to stop for a few weeks and then start with a small amount and then gradually increase the dose to the desired level.

      1. Have you had any positive benefits noticed from taking Triphalia? If so, what are they?
        I’ve heard it helps relieve constipation but this has not been my experience. Maybe it
        takes a while to start working. I already get an abundance of fiber.

        1. Michelleelle: I take triphala not for a specific reason but for the antioxidant content of amla. I’m south Asian and very familiar with triphala. (It’s the most widely used herbal supplement in the Indian subcontinent.) When it comes to relieving constipation, it’s very mild and therefore good only for occasional non-severe constipation, unless you take it in impractically large quantities. The constipation relief of triphala is due to haritaki (Terminalia chebula), so if you don’t tolerate triphala well and it is not effective in relieving constipation, you could try, instead of triphala, pure haritaki, which to my knowledge doesn’t belong to nightshade family.

    2. If they haven’t, anyone here taking or considering taking triphala should see Dr. Greger’s video on it… it’s in one of this highest ranking antioxidant foods videos. He advises against it because it was found to be relevantly contaminated with heavy metals including mercury or maybe mercury was the sole issues, I’m going by memory.

      Nightshades are not unhealthy, that is a myth. Dr. Greger has videos on that here, can anyone link them or does anyone remember the title(s)?

      1. Re. triphala and heavy metals I was worried about that after seeing Dr. Greger’s video but intrigued enough by the purported astronomical anti-oxidant content to investigate further. I found a couple of online dealers (and subsequently a local grocery store) who sell “organic triphala” which all claim means that they do not contain excessive amounts of heavy metals. Currently I take them at their word, i.e. I haven’t had an independent chemical analysis done to confirm.

        1. >>who sell “organic triphala” which all claim means that they do not contain excessive amounts of heavy metals.
          Wouldn’t believe that. Ask for test results.

        2. For absolute piece of mind, and for the sake of your health, you might want to spend a
          few hundred dollars on an independent lab analysis to test for numerous metals. The
          organic label and organic standards do not include metal/heavy metal content at all, and
          even pesticides and anything else are allowed in an “organic” product if the contaminated
          ingredient comprises no more than 5% of the end product. Many people don’t realize this.
          Food producers are given a 5% leeway for toxic ingredients, and the USDA organic standard
          doesn’t concern itself with heavy metals at all. So you have to be aware of the condition of
          the soil your plant/plant product/herb/spice was grown in. Things coming from a lot of places
          in Asia like China, India, etc., are grown in soil badly contaminated with heavy metals and
          other things, even if they’re certified organic. So if you’re really intent on taking a substance for
          many years, and you want to protect yourself from harm, you need to either absolutely trust the
          condition of the soil your product was grown in, or you need to have chemical analysis done
          maybe every 5 or 10 years by a very reputable lab.

          1. I think it’s important to get from a company you trust and know where things are grown and manufactured and what kind of tests they do but I don’t think we should drive ourselves insane over everything. A good company can answer these questions and has some transparency. I think that’s all we really need to do. For things like triphala where it’s been shown to be significantly contaminated, I would personally avoid taking it and just stick to amla and other foods, but if I really wanted to take it I would have the company send me test reports (love when companies offer to do this without being asked!). Another thing that can be done if you’re concerned about heavy metals in your diet is get your blood tested for heavy metals. I actually did that in the past.

    3. Michelleelle, Are you eating greens several times a day? If you’re getting enough cooked and raw greens every day, along with lots of beans, fruits, and other veggies, and eliminating all dairy (especially cheese), you won’t be constipated for long.

      Fiber supplements aren’t the answer.

      One of the important reasons to avoid dairy is because of the casomorphins, which are mild morphine-like molecules. They are designed to give a baby calf a dopamine hit, so it will want to nurse. Our own milk has the same thing, for the same reason. These morphine-like compounds are concentrated in cheese, and one of their functions is to slow the gut motility. It’s the same reason you will be constipated after taking morphine or having anesthesia. When you eat plenty of leafy greens you get all kinds of good nutrients and phytonutrients, along with the relaxation of the gut from the magnesium in leaves.

    4. You usually cannot take something to resolve constipation. The system, the gut, is unhappy. If you remove those reasons you may resolve the problem. Things to think about; remove gluten from the diet, remove all processed foods from the diet, remove sugary foods from the diet, remove artificial sweeteners from the diet. Increase the amount of fiber you consume from plants and fruits to at least 40 grams per day, make sure that you are getting about 750 mg of magnesium per day, and drink plenty of water.

        1. “coconut oil will provide support for constipation” Maybe… at the expense of arterial function. A diet rich in whole plant foods will go above and beyond in resolving constipation issues. And of course omitting or at the very least limiting your intake of meat and dairy. I can’t imagine never dealing with some amount of constipation if you’re consuming animal products though, we just can’t digest them properly; we’re not designed to.

  2. Since I discovered frozen berries in even the most limited small town (limited selection) grocery stores, I’ve been eating blueberries nearly every single day. For variety I sometimes get strawberries (but not those weird monster-sized ones) and the woods are about to yield my favorite wild fruit raspberries. The raspberries don’t last long, but are likely the healthiest of all with zero human manipulation aside from my harvesting them.

    It’s all BERRY good!

    Recipe for -my- strawberry “jam”: cut berries down to slices/chunks no thicker than 3/8″ (10mm) warm over medium heat with just a little water until the fruit goes a bit soft and the water is reduced and thickens. Remove from heat, enjoy. This maximizes sweetness and give the texture of a jam. Works with other fruit too-best when cut. Goes great with any sort of bread and there’s plenty of margin for error.

    1. Wade, we have similar wild raspberries here in PA. We call them wine berries. We had a long hedge row of them when I was a kid. Every morning we went out to pick berries for our breakfast cereal.

      They’ll be coming out again soon. Will try your “jam” recipe with them. Thanks for sharing.

    2. So cool you have access to wild growing berries, Wade! I do have a suggestion that you might find a little far out there, but I personally like to do this as a rule… if I’m ever taking anything from the wild (I came across a wild growing apple tree once!), due to the fact that humans have taken so much land and perpetually do so and animals have far less than we do and need all that nature has to provide them, I like to always give something back so that in my taking, I won’t be taking anything away but giving something in its place.

      1. Animals and flora tend to do better where I have influence. We all have our notions as to what is best. I have to be away from the maddening crowds. I eat dozens of wild species including Lambsquarter, Dandelion, Oyster and Morel mushrooms, Ginseng, Persimmons, Pawpaws, Blackberries, Pokeweed, Fiddleheads, Walnuts, Hickorynuts, and more. Everything I “take” could be considered beneficial to humankind as it didn’t require any chemicals to grow, or trucks to move it around between harvesting and processing and distribution and sales. Plus I garden and I pay taxes on these woods. Namaste

        1. Wow, a lot of anger there. I’m not sure why you took my comment so personally, I was only sharing my approach, not reprimanding you. Oh well, that’s on you.

  3. Drinking a blueberry/strawberry/flaxseed/arugula/spinach/kale/red chard/soy milk/bana concoction right now! Cheers, fellow health freaks!

    1. Nice :) I’m paranoid about soy interfering with the antioxidants in berries in the same way dairy milk does simply because it’s been found to interact with the antioxidants in tea like dairy and dairy also interfere with berry antioxidant absorption. But I believe I remember seeing this concern addressed in the comments under the video on dairy, soy and tea and Dr. Greger responded that there was no evidence to suggest it would be a concern. However, I’m wondering if it’s ever been put to the test. Would be curious about your thoughts on it.

  4. “Every color every day.” How many blue foods can you think of? Not many. Perhaps the beautiful color of blueberries somehow tells our eyes: ‘Here is something special!”

      1. I’ve got some purple sweet potato slips shooting up from one of last year’s sweet potatoes in a jar of water. Going to plant them outside just as soon as the #z*^%! wind stops blowing!

  5. There’re fruits that contain a lot more anthocyanins than bluberries, such as black elederberry, black chokeberry, black rice, and purple corn. i wonder if there’s any similar research on them. In other words, given the complexity of anthocyanin metabolism in the human body, does the source matter?

    1. Yes, George, there are other foods that contain greater amounts of antioxidants than blueberries, though I find the studies presented here really interesting.. specially the ‘rebound’ effect. Reminds me of the humble white mushroom in raising our immunity for a week afterwards.

      For those interested, here is a list of common foods and their ORAC values. I look for affordable ways to increase antioxidants – blueberries (all berries) are prohibitively expensive . Purple cabbage, apples (beat out acai ), purple sweet potatoes and black beans are just some of the foods I include often.

  6. Yahoo! I have two wild blue berry bushes that huge in my yard- on is 20 feet high. I can’t wait for this year’s harvest and I will sure keep eating them all year around.

    Great information Dr. Greger and team. Thank you!

    A proud and healthy monthly supporter of Nutritionfacts.org

  7. i eat blueberries every day…but not 2 cups
    …that would spike my blood sugar
    …maybe 2/3 of a cup is my max is my limit

    1. james, berries actually help to control blood sugar due to antioxidants. Fruit does not have the same impact on blood sugar like refined sugars do. They even did a study to see how much fruit was “too much” and had people eating 20 servings of fruit a day and their health actually improved – there’s a video on that here but I can’t remember the title specifically. It’s also in another video here how eating berries with a meal helps to keep blood sugar levels at baseline, so even though you’re adding additional sugar, because it’s fruit, it actually helps reduce blood sugar spikes.

      1. S, it doesn’t work that way for everyone. Most diabetics Will spike with more than 2/3 cup of blueberries.
        These studies show how the average person reacts to a food. Not everyone is average.
        You can’t make rules that are true for everyone.
        You need to respect the fact that James is an indivual who may be different.

        1. Marilyn, obviously when results to scientific evidence are shown and shared, it applies to healthy individuals. You’re right that it would be possible James were diabetic and had to eat differently, but I think he would be smart enough to realize that what I said would obviously not apply to him. If we assume everyone who says something that as a rule, is inaccurate, has a disease which causes their statement to be accurate to THEM, then we could never possibly recite scientific findings. Come on…

  8. I was just going to ask a similar question as S above.

    It seemed he was talking about wild blueberries. Is there such a difference between wild blueberries and “regular” blueberries? Must one consume wild blueberries to gain any of the benefits?

    1. Wild blueberries do have more antioxidants, I believe it’s due to the fact that they’re smaller. I have never seen them sold fresh around here, I get frozen bags of wild blueberries from Trader Joe’s grown wildly in Canada with no use of pesticides.

  9. I’ve heard that blackcurrants exceed
    blueberries in terms of anthocyamins and other compounds by as much as tenfold.
    Can it be assumed that the results you cite on blueberries might fact be even more powerful when you have a
    blackcurrant smoothie??

    1. Thank you Katherine Gaskins for your question. In the study, the participants consumed twice daily a 12-oz yogurt and skim milk-based smoothie with 22.5 g of freeze-dried blueberry powder added (total 45 g/day) or an identical smoothie without the blueberry powder (i.e., placebo). I hope that is useful for you.
      Blueberries Improve Endothelial Function, but Not Blood Pressure, in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

  10. During many of my early years living in Argentina from 1999, I missed eating blueberries. Then they appeared at the grocery stores and fruit stands. Now there are huge farms in the northern provinces producing them for export to the USA and Europe. They were available as early as August last year when the season is usually September to December, and still available in February. I bought them by the case. Chile is another producer, and Argentina imported them to meet the demand.

    The package labels read — PRODUCT OF ARGENTINA for XYZ company in Miami and other distribution centers. I know that American markets pay much more for the imported berries than I do in Buenos Aires.

    I’m hoping to buy blueberries again in about three months. In the meantime, my breakfast includes dried goyi berries.

    1. I’m a little concerned about buying fruit from South America. Do they have regulations limiting the amount of pesticides used for imported grapes or berries? Or do they spray the heck out of them?

      1. You probably buy bananas from Ecuador or Brazil. Argentina is once again supplying lemons to the US market, along with blueberries. They’re not organic. I eat whatever I can find.

        It’s a challenge finding sources for organic produce even in the capital of Buenos Aires, but the market is growing along with veganism.

      2. If they’re certified organic they have to undergo the same regulations, I’m not sure about conventionally grown but to my mind, I would be surprised if they sprayed more than the U.S since we’re not exactly a country against the use of hazardous chemicals, unfortunately.

  11. Here are some thoughts. It was the work of the liver (first short process) and the work of the gut flora (second long process) that created the good results. The first part depends on the liver. But a healthy liver does not really do jobs in parallel (simultaneously). This means that if the liver is overwhelmed by other process (toxicity, medications, heavy meals, etc.), it may not do the ‘blueberry job’ as in the studies. The second process with gut flora could be affected in a similar way. If the gut flora is compromised, then the good results from the studies could be diminished. Also consider this, powder blueberry or smoothies would emphasize liver job (because faster absorption straight to the liver) over gut flora job (from whole blueberries, lower absorption reaching the gut).

  12. Oh dear, I will have to have a talk with my gut bacteria and my brain and see if I can go up from my one occasional blueberry.

    I am going to have to borrow my Micropulse ICES back and stimulate my vagal nerve while watching this video over and over again.

    Dr. Bredesen limits the rest of fruit and pushes berries, which would have me eating no fruit.

    I like wide range of every fruit and vegetable and bean and whole grain better than micromanaging everything.

    Not sure if I will have to limit this and that or if I can celebrate the power of all of it.

    1. Some people, like some doctors writing books, create stories. The stories are judged by how they make sense not by their veracity. They usually make ‘movies’ with the good guys and the bad guys. For example, some doctors attack fructose. But the combination of fructose with glucose causes the liver to stored glycogen (brain fuel) within a limit. Without liver glycogen the brain suffers.

    2. Dr. Bredesen also wants you to stop eating grains that contain gluten. I think he’s a little bit crazy. I have reason to be concerned about Alzheimer’s since I’m double positive for APOE4 but I’m eating the Dr. Greger (and Nature’s) way, and so I have no fear of going senile.

      1. Bredersen’s advice may do more harm than good.

        He advises keeping cholesterol above 150. In fact we know that high cholesterol mid life is associated with higher Alzheimer’s risk.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5240556/

        However if you want to target book sales and clinical services to the alternative health demographic, perhaps you not only have to makr big, bold claims but you also have to be fashionably LCHF and ‘high cholesterol is healthy’.

        1. Right. He also describes his theory of the etiology of Alzheimer’s as fact, claims most people are gluten sensitive, praises the notorious Dr.
          Grain Brain Perlmutter, and recommends tons of supplements and a mildly keto diet (vegan keto ok), all without any scientific references to back up any of his claims other than his few case reports. Even the infamous Dr. Oz was very skeptical of his claims. I don’t completely discount his work e.g. the idea the disease is multifactorial, but his book left me unpersuaded. Anyone interested in the general topic would do well to also read the book by the Drs. Sherzai, The Alzheimer’s Solution, to counterbalance Breseden’s advice.

  13. O.M.G.! This video data is confirmation of something I recently read vis a vis the blueberry-pterostilbene relationship.

    To wit:

    Pterostilbene (trans-3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxystilbene) is a natural dietary compound and the primary antioxidant component of blueberries. It has increased bioavailability in comparison to other stilbene compounds, which may enhance its dietary benefit and possibly contribute to a valuable clinical effect. Multiple studies have demonstrated the antioxidant activity of pterostilbene in both in vitro and in vivo models illustrating both preventative and therapeutic benefits. The antioxidant activity of pterostilbene has been implicated in anticarcinogenesis, modulation of neurological disease, anti-inflammation, attenuation of vascular disease, and amelioration of diabetes. In this review, we explore the antioxidant properties of pterostilbene and its relationship to common disease pathways and give a summary of the clinical potential of pterostilbene in the prevention and treatment of various medical conditions.

    After reading the above I upped my blueberry intake multi-fold. I now take it via ‘Just Blueberry’ juice mixed with my morning beet juice + liquid resveratrol. Later I take a Pterostilbene + Resveratrol Blueberry Complex veggi cap. Then I eat a handful of frozen blueberries and some large frozen cherries, and then at night I finish off with a cup of blueberry tea.

    Anyone who keeps up with what people post may remember I am a big fan of Resveratrol. I am now inclined to lend more weight to blueberry consumption after reading the study in the link at the bottom… especially the part that says:

    Pterostilbene is structurally similar to resveratrol, a compound found in red wine that has comparable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties; however, pterostilbene exhibits increased bioavailability due to the presence of two methoxy groups which cause it to exhibit increased lipophilic and oral absorption (Figure 1) [6–10]. In animal studies, pterostilbene was shown to have 80% bioavailability compared to 20% for resveratrol making it potentially advantageous as a therapeutic agent [6].

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649683/

  14. Another fantastic video. So grateful for Dr. Greger’s work. Question: what video-editing/creation software does he use to create these slick productions?

  15. Awesome Dr. Greger. I just started eating 4 oz per day two days ago for breakfast. I switch between strawberries, blackberries and now blueberries every day. I guess I’ll crank up the blueberry intake.

    1. DavidHT, as I recall from past videos and study references, black rasperries, blackberries and their leaves (!) come in the highest for antioxidant values. I have not seen black raspberries available, but blackberries are commonly available. Eating a variety would seem a wise thing to do .

      1. Susan, do you remember if they compared wild blueberries? I’ve never seen black raspberries either, would love it if they became available.

  16. If we are entering a solar GRAND minimum and the earth has crop failures like it did 450 years ago during the last solar GRAND minimum will modern day agricultural techniques still be able to feed the world on the scale that it does now? Will we still be able to buy blueberries?

    1. Sure, the Maunder Minimum hit Europe and the U.S. the hardest for cold weather, so the Southern hemisphere should have plenty of time to escalate production to export to the U.S. The new “mini-ice age” won’t happen overnight giving scientists plenty of time to utilize CRSPR-Cas9 to insert cold tolerant genes into crops to make them cold-tolerant.

      I’m thinking being hit by a falling piece of space junk is more of a worry than going hungry in a modern day Maunder Minimum. ‘-)

  17. I guess I didn’t understand the video on blueberries? Why in the Daily Dozen app does it only say to eat 1/2 cup per day of any berries?

    1. Because all berries are some of the healthiest things we can eat. He’s just presenting some of the evidence on blueberries and arterial function in particular. And I don’t believe his suggestion is limited to 1/2 cup, I think that’s a way of making sure you incorporate berries regularly. So he’s not saying not go over 1/2 of berries, just recommending you include them.

  18. It would be great if Dr. Greger could investigate the benefits of an active ingredient in blueberries — pterostilbene.

    Thanks!

  19. I was reading reviews on Amazon for “wild blueberry power drink” & people complained that the taste wasn’t’ good, except one company & it was extremely expensive. There are also blueberry concentrates available, but how is dosage quantified?

    1. Years ago “medicine” wasn’t supposed to taste good and this is a medicine IMO. My own health has steadily improved over time once I took control of my taste, rather than being controlled by it.

      Oh, and you can add the powder to apple sauce and get it down just fine.

  20. Just today planted out Indigo Rose tomato plant from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum plant sale. Checkout Johnnys Select Seed online. This little cherry type tomato is high in Anthocyanins too.

    1. I’ve planted ordinary Romo tomatoes, a plum variety.

      But I won’t eat any tomato until it is cooked… even if just a dip in boiling water to loosen up the skins.

  21. Nutrient-Blocking Effects of Dairy
    Michael Greger M.D. FACLM January 7th, 2010 Volume 3. So this is the video that turned me vegan. If you want the benefits of of blueberries you can’t eat them with Dairy. What I’m wondering is did they limit what the study subject ate with their blueberries ie. no Dairy. I Would really like to know. Not that I would ever eat Dairy again but I thought getting rid of Dairy lowered my blood pressure down to 90/60 now I think the 2 cups of blueberries I have every morning is part of it.

  22. I have a question, how long does it take being WFPB to change the gut microbiome if you are eating every type of fruit and veggie every week, except berries.

    My poor friend, who spent a year and a half homeless has IBS, leaky gut and has hives all over her body, and can’t afford medical care and I looked up fecal transplant and it helped improve something in 70% of IBS patients, but it isn’t covered by insurance, but there is a site, which tells how to do it yourself.

    She had a few rounds of a broad spectrum antibiotics, during a time period when she had insurance.

    I don’t think I would be an ideal candidate, because when I was younger I had suicidal tendencies, but that was years ago. I do have daily BM’s and am eating a wide variety of organic produce and I am just the only person who I have ever met who is eating WFPB and eats fruits and vegetables and who has compassion on poor people. People, generally wouldn’t do it, but I know she has serious health problems and has had hives for a month.

  23. The USA has red fruits available 12 months a year thanks for wealth and 747’s. But other countries, like France, are more seasonally focused and we don’t see bluberries except for one or two months a year. What does Dr. Gregor think of pure blueberry juice as a substitute. Otherwise, this wonderful food is only available to people who shop at Whole Foods.

    1. Well it says in the video that cooked berries have the same effect, so preserves or something would probably be a good way to get them year round. Then there’s always frozen if possible or the option of freezing your own.

    2. David,
      Thanks for your question and you make a good point regarding availability. Frozen berries retain their nutritional value very well and I would think that is available in France. Even if it is not, rotating the fruits and berries you eat based on seasonality is a good way to ensure you are getting good variety in your diet. We have seen over and over again that extracting the juice from the fruit does not give us anything close to the benefit of whole fruits.Here is a video explaining how much of the polyphenol phytonutrients are bound to the fiber. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/juicing-removes-more-than-just-fiber/

    1. Ron,
      Check out the following video. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-benefits-of-acai-vs-blueberries-for-artery-function/
      It appears that acai berries do have beneficial effects on artery function similar to the blueberries. We don’t know if it is as powerful as the blueberries but eating a variety of plant based foods (including berries) is the take home lesson here .Also keep in mind that the berries were fresh or frozen in the acai comparison. A freeze dried powder may work as well but we don’t know since that isn’t what was used in the referenced study on acai berries.

  24. I harken back to one of the early, seminal Nutrition Facts videos which demonstrated that variety trumps volume. That is a lesser volume of a variety of foods, say a variety of berries, is healthier than a greater volume of just one type of food, even if it is a “super food.” While single-food videos are useful and interesting, without a reminder that variety is king, they may lead people to focus on particular foods, which would be unfortunate.

  25. Since I learned more about the health benefits of secondary plant substances like flavonoids I include more colorful foods into my diet. Frozen berries are now always in my freezer and additionally, I have a lot of green veggies and also fresh fruits around. I can see and feel an improvement in my skin and my digestion is also better when eating more fresh and nutrient dense food.

  26. Just a simple question that I ignore and don´t know hot to solve. How many grams of blueberries are in a cup?
    Thanks!

  27. I could use some clarity on the dangers of food allergies, sometimes referred to as sensitivities to healthy foods. I took a blood test that was sent to Rocky Miuntain Analytical http://www.rmalab.com which indicates allergy to blueberries. Yet I’ve never heard dr. Greger express concern about such food allergies – in this case IGA antibodies. I suffer from chronic congestion but elimination of a range of healthy foods is difficult and concerning for me.

    1. Hey, Derrick,

      I don’t know anything about IGA antibodies, but if the only symptom you have is chronic congestion, hopefully it’s not too bad, and you have time to get this figured out.
      Because of having migraine headaches starting a year ago, I ‘m at the tail end of a self-administered elimination diet. I took out cacao, chocolate, & all foods I eat in the nightshade family, since those things are notorious for possibly causing migraines. So far, it looks like cacao was the culprit, though I want to be sure, so I’m gonna finish this test. Still have 2 more foods to reintroduce. So if you’re actually allergic to blueberries, you may have a reaction to other nightshades, as well. Do the quickest and easiest things first:

      Cut out blueberries for 3 months, then reintroduce, being sure to eat them every day for 3 weeks. If you have a negative reaction right away, within days, you know blueberries are an issue for you. And you may notice you feel better after eliminating them, too.

      You could have another blood test done by another lab, getting a second opinion.

      The most time-consuming would be to find a comprehensive list of nightshade plants online, print it out, and eliminate all the nightshades you eat for 3 months, then reintroduce one at a time, a month apart. But if you’re allergic to one nightshade, there may be others causing you a problem. And it would be good for you to know ALL the foods causing you an issue. The complete list of nightshades isn’t a short one, unfortunately, but for most people the biggies are probably:

      All tomatoes; all potatoes except yams & sweet potatoes; eggplant; all peppers, bell, sweet, or hot; cayenne; paprika; blueberries; cucumbers; tobacco; vodka (made from potatoes).

      There are a bunch of things on the complete list that may surprise you.

      Hope you get this solved quickly & easily.

      Blessings!

      1. Where are you getting the information that nightshades are notorious for migraines? I’ve never heard of this or experienced it but many of the nightshade fruits/vegetables are some of the healthiest things we can incorporate in our diet.

        1. Hi, Shaylen,

          Sorry I don’t remember the doctors’ names, but I’ve watched several health summits online since last summer, the very first being a Migraine Summit I came across while looking up health info online. That summit was in June 2017. The reason I watched it was I’d been getting multi-day headaches for a few months. Aside from one bout with cluster headaches back in 1988, I’d never experienced anything like these headaches – kept me basically in bed for 2 or 3 days when they came on.

          Some of the naturopathic doctors/functional medicine doctors on that summit were saying that it was wise to make sure none of the nightshades were causing your migraines, if you couldn’t figure out what it was. There are many possible reasons & causes for migraines, so it’s probably a small subset of migraine sufferers who are sensitive to a certain food (or foods) in the nightshade family.

          I was amazed to learn that 14% of the U.S. population suffers at least one migraine during their lifetime.

          If you’re getting chronic headaches or migraines, the advice I gleaned from the summit was (I’m reading some of the high points in the notes I took during the summit): Eat more fish, leafy greens; avoid red meat, dairy, grains that contain gluten, MSG, yeast, whey protein, nitrates(cured meats), canola oil, cacao, chocolate, among a bunch of other things. Start using the spices turmeric and ginger (turmeric kills inflammation in the body when eaten regularly; and in a double-blind study, taking capsuled ginger powder was just as effective as Sumatroptan for migraines). Eat as vegetarian as possible (animal foods cause inflammation).

          Magnesium, B1, B3, B12, zinc, or folate deficiencies can cause migraines. Taking CoQ10, rosemary, feverfew, or magnesium plus butterbur can help (make sure the butterbur is free of P. Alkaloid). Thyroid problems can cause chronic headaches.

          Truth be told, I’m not sure whether my migraines were caused by cacao/chocolate, or a need for more magnesium. About the same time I identified cacao as a trigger and eliminated it for good, I also started using topical magnesium spray every night (am now up to 6 sprays a night – 120 mg). I’m now migraine-free.

          One interesting story I heard during the summit was a doctor telling of a patient with chronic headaches that weren’t responding to anything. Finally the idea of car exhaust occurred to the doctor, who learned that this guy sat in rush-hour traffic each weekday with his a/c venting from outside, instead of circulating interior air only. He was breathing auto exhaust for a few hours every workday! That simple change in the a/c setting cured him of his headaches.

          I agree that some nightshades are some of nature’s most nutritious foods, and it would hurt if we had to eliminate them from our diet. But it’s probably only a very small percentage of the population that’s in that category; and if you had to eliminate, say, two nightshades from your diet to be rid of migraines, then so be it. You can easily get those nutrients from another food.

          Peace!

          1. Thanks for the response, Bob.

            I’m very skeptical about anything that recommends cutting out some of the healthiest foods. But I’m not saying there’s no way you or other people aren’t experiencing reduction or elimination in migraines by cutting out certain nightshades or similar foods. And I agree that if cutting some of them out gets rid of migraines then it’s definitely worth it and you can get benefits from other foods in their place.
            I would imagine the fish recommendation would have to do with the DHA/EPA, but I would actually think that fish consumption could trigger headaches or migraines due to heavy metal contamination as well as other pollutants. Algae oil could be a better alternative.

            I used to get regular headaches and once had to be hospitalized over a migraine that wasn’t going away (they got it to go away through an IV of painkillers – pills were not working – and it never came back like that again). Anyways, they told me they didn’t know why but then later I learned what you’re saying, about how deficiencies can contribute to migraines (how ridiculous that doctors couldn’t tell me that?) so I think that was a major part of it. I was a vegetarian but was eating a standard American (vegetarian) diet at the time.
            Ever since going WFPB I just stopped getting headaches entirely, I haven’t had one since. I eat wild blueberries and cacao everyday and nightshades in general are typically a staple in my diet, so I don’t have that experience, thankfully! I did used to get headaches from MSG! I do fine on foods with naturally occurring glutamic acid such as mushrooms, nutritional yeast, tomatoes, etc.

            If car exhaust induces migraines in some (though we should all avoid it as much as possible), then broccoli and broccoli sprouts would probably be highly beneficial as the sulferophane is one of the best antioxidants against it.

    2. Hi, Derrick. I have some concerns about these blood tests for food allergies. Some clients in my practice have had them done, have subsequently changed their diets to avoid foods flagged in the reports, and then repeated the tests only to find that many of the foods to which they switched were flagged as allergenic in the new tests. It is my opinion that these tests mainly tell you what you have eaten recently, and not necessarily what are allergens for you. If you have not experienced any type of reaction to a particular food, then I think you are probably not allergic to it. Raw pineapple provides bromelain, an enzyme that can help to clear up congestion if you tolerate it well. Dust, pollen, mold and other airborne allergens can contribute to chronic congestion, as well as dairy intake. Eliminating these may be very helpful. Elderberries, which must be boiled for about 10 minutes before consuming, may also help. You also might want to see this video, if you have not already. I hope that helps!

      1. Hi Christine,

        Thank you;)

        Interesting that pineapple, cranberry and mushroom as well as sesame along with blueberry and corn and a variety of yeasts and all dairy all indicate an allergic response.

        To be fair I’ve never eliminated them all at once. I have been eating vegan for almost two years, so no dairy. But the most obvious increases in congestion I’ve experienced over the years is to beer and breads.

        My naturopath talks about the half-life of many of these foods, and recommends a full elimination of all for a minimum of 8 weeks. Aside from dairy I’ve struggled to eliminate them all at once.

  28. Thank you for this video. I was adding half a cup before but now that i add a cup of blueberries and half a cup of a mix of blue,black and raspberries i’m enjoying my morning oatmeal even more. Could you still get the benefits of artery function if you space out the servings over each meal? I would like to eat about half a cup of blueberries in each meal to get the benefit of reduced blood sugar spikes. Would i get the artery function benefits too?

  29. So many of these videos are frustrating because they leave out the final explanation of how to practically apply the knowledge. For example how much is a daily dose to be taken for one time benefits? How about chronic benefits? In the Orange study, same problem…how many oranges to take and how long before exercise? It doesn’t say. Very frustrating especially when you need to pay to see the sources cited so you can’t do it on your own. I’ve just spent an hour trying to figure out how many blueberries to take every day for all the benefits in all the studies and if you need to eat them everyday or not, converting the units, etc…

    1. He was actually really specific in the video I thought. In practical terms he says less than a cup is good but between 1-2 cups is better and the effects are maxed out after 2 cups in a single meal, meaning that if you eat 3 cups in a meal, it’s not going to have a greater impact on arterial function. And they used wild blueberries.
      Someone on here explained it was mixed with dairy which makes me wonder if the impact wouldn’t be greater w/o the addition of dairy as I’ve read that dairy can bind to antioxidants in berries, especially blueberries (based on what I’ve read).

    2. Hi Jack: I’m so sorry to hear you’re frustrated. I think our Daily Dozen Checklist might be a good way for you to help apply Dr. Greger’s recommendations into your daily routine. You can find more info here. If you have a smartphone, we even have an app available to help you keep track. I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any additional questions!

  30. So specifically for this video:
    Yes but when you look at a tin of bluberries they don’t come in cups..they come in dry ounces and grams. Try converting that. Here’s a hint: it’s a different conversion for blueberries then if you were converting a dry ounce of nuts or something else to cups. If you own a kitchen or a measuring cup, problem solved but some people don’t or don’t have them around when they are eating. But this video is only one example. There are many more examples where a final statment such as, “that’s half the amount of a tin the blueberries usually come in” would have saved me a lot of time. A few video’s even have that but not most. Just a small possible improvement on an already great site to make it more convenient and time saving.

  31. How many ounces of dried blueberries is equivalent to 1 cup of fresh blueberries. I see in a previous post that 1 cup of fresh blueberries is equivalent to 148 grams. But, what’s the conversion factor for dried? Thanks, Jeff

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