Blueberries have a reputation as a superfood, and new research confirms that they are indeed special.
Nutrition scientists at Florida State University report on a placebo-controlled study that found freeze-dried blueberry powder reduced blood pressure by 5 to 6 percent. The volunteers were 48 postmenopausal women with mildly elevated blood pressure who were randomly assigned to take 22 grams of blueberry or placebo powder daily for two months. The group consuming the blueberry powder also had reduced arterial stiffness.
These beneficial effects would be expected in people eating a cup of blueberries daily.
Apparently the berries increase the production of nitric oxide in the blood vessels. Nitric oxide is a natural compound that promotes blood vessel flexibility and dilation. People who consume beets or chocolate also improve their production of nitric oxide in the blood vessels, as you can read here and here.
[Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, online Jan. 7, 2015]