Atherosclerosis is a disease marked by plaque in the arteries. Made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood, plaque hardens overtime not unlike concrete -- and that narrows arteries and limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The result can be potentially fatal strokes and heart attacks.
But now, for the first time, scientists have direct evidence that a side-effect free natural substance exists that can help prevent these harmful atherosclerotic plaques from increasing in size and narrowing arteries. What is this powerful hardening of the arteries fighter? Blueberries.
Principal investigator Xianli Wu, who works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center in Little Rock and with the University of Arkansas Center for Medical Sciences, led the new study which was just reported in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition. Dr. Wu's research team compared the size of atherosclerotic lesions in 30 young laboratory mice with this form of heart disease. These animals were deficient in apolipoprotein-E (which helps regulate fats in the body), making them highly susceptible to forming atherosclerotic lesions.