Metabolic syndrome is the medical word used to describe the combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, all conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Rich in antioxidants – namely, polyphenols, which protects cells in the heart and helps lower blood pressure – blueberries may then reduce damage to the lining of blood vessels and in turn, combat glucose intolerance.
The study, carried out on specially bred obese lab rats, found that when the rats were fed two cups of blueberries a day, their blood vessels were less restricted which meant blood flow and blood pressure improved.
But experts warn that blueberries should be eaten raw and that heating them in muffins or pies for example, affects the levels of some polyphenols and reduces their disease fighting nutrients.
The study was published in the journal the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.