The adverse effects of a high-fat diet can be diminished by eating bilberries (wild blueberries), says a recent study at the University of Eastern Finland. Bilberries were shown to have beneficial effects for the first time, on both blood pressure and nutrition-derived inflammatory responses.
Low-grade inflammation and elevated blood pressure are often associated with obesity-related diseases. The study focused on the health effects of bilberries on mice that were fed high-fat diet for a period of three months. Some of the mice were fed either 5 percent or 10 percent of freeze-dried bilberries in the diet. The researchers assessed the effects of the diets by looking at inflammatory cell and cytokine levels, systolic blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and weight gain.
Mice on the high-fat diet experienced significant weight gain and detrimental changes in glucose and lipid metabolism, inflammation factors and blood pressure. Bilberries diminished the pro-inflammatory effects of the high-fat diet, indicated by an altered cytokine profile and a reduced relative prevalence of inflammation supporting T-cells. Bilberries also prevented elevated blood pressure caused by the high-fat diet.