Blueberries – Health Benefits Now Include Lower Cholesterol

For years blueberries have been know to contain many nutrients and antioxidants that help keep you healthy.  You can now add reduced cholesterol as one of many health benefits of blueberries.  While this new information, it is very promising.  The news comes from a study led by the USDA on blueberries health benefits.

The study focused on hamsters that were fed a diet high in fat, which is know to increase cholesterol.  The hamsters were then fed one of three blueberry products – the skins, fiber extracted from the skins, or polyphenols that were also extracted from the skins.  All of the hamsters that ate any of the three blueberry products experienced a decrease in cholesterol levels from 22-27% when compared to hamsters that were not fed any of the blueberry products.

Blueberries - Health Benefits Now Include Lower Cholesterol

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VLDL, which is one of the bad cholesterol forms, was lower by about 44%.

Hamsters were used in this study because their cholesterol levels respond to dietary fiber similar to humans.  While this is promising news for people looking to reduce cholesterol the lead researcher, Wallace H. Yokoyama, warns that we do not know if these same results will be shown in humans.  The USDA reports:

Yokoyama pointed out that further research is needed to confirm whether the effects observed in hamsters hold true for humans.

The study continued its investigation by determining that there some liver genes had increased activity in the hamsters that had a reduction of cholesterol.

Since all of the hamsters that were fed any of the three blueberry products showed a decrease in cholesterol levels, it is not clear what part of the blueberry provides this benefit.

The question many people ask is – are blueberries good for you?  While there are some health benefits of blueberries that have been confirmed in the past, the blueberries health benefits in regards to lowering cholesterol is not completely clear for humans.  Though, it is looking very promising.