Blueberries aren’t just brain food. According to a new study featured on Science Daily, they may also stave off diseases caused by metabolic syndrome—a group of risk factors normally characterized by obesity, hypertension, and inflammation among others.

Researchers from the University of Maine tested this theory on obese Zucker rats with metabolic syndrome, feeding the test subjects two cups of blueberries per day for eight weeks. They found that a regular blueberry diet led to improved regulation in the vascular wall, resulting in better blood flow and healthier blood pressure levels.

The research team believes that this is due to the fact that blueberries are rich in phytochemicals called polyphenols, which, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), may also play a role in preventing cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Want more polyphenols in your diet? NCBI recommends eating more dried herbs, cocoa products, and some darkly coloured berries.

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(Photo by FromSandToGlass via Flickr Creative Commons)

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