Health & Wellness

Blueberries’ Benefits Overblown

They’re good for you, but there’s no proof they’ll cut your heart attack risk 

By Wendy Haaf

Photo: iStock/cheche22.

A June 2019 study was widely reported as showing that eating a cup of blueberries every day reduces heart attack risk by 15 per cent, but in fact, the study demonstrated no such thing, according to expert critics.

In the study’s six-month trial, which randomly assigned people at increased risk to a placebo or one of two daily doses of blueberry powder, there were no differences across groups in any of the markers of heart health the researchers set out to study, including blood pressure and blood sugar. The 15 per cent claim was simply an extrapolation based on a small change (which may have been due to chance) in one measure, arterial stiffness, detected in a smaller subgroup of participants who consumed the equivalent of one cup (two servings) of the colourful fruit each day.

Nevertheless, two weekly servings of berries of any variety are a key component of the MIND diet (a combination of the DASH and Mediterranean eating patterns), which was devised to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline.