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If You Are Overweight, Eating This One Fruit May Prevent Metabolic Syndrome

Tim Boyer's picture

In two separate studies, research may be telling us that it is possible to be fat and healthy and avoid developing metabolic syndrome as long as you are able to prevent obesity-induced inflammation. One proposed way of doing this is by eating up to 2 cups of blueberries a day.

Researchers are recently recognizing that not all overweight or obese individuals are equally unhealthy - a condition referred to as “metabolically healthy obesity.” While it is not well understood how one can be obese and not be at an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, what is known is that metabolically healthy obese individuals do not demonstrate high levels of markers of inflammation that are seen in fellow obese individuals who do have heart disease and diabetes.

In a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers have found that being overweight or obese does not always guarantee that you are experiencing inflammation that can lead to diabetes and heart disease. In fact, they propose that perhaps approximately one-third of individuals medically classified as obese may actually be metabolically healthy.

According to a news release issued by The Endocrine Society, this finding is the result of measuring the levels of inflammation markers in obese patients who were either diagnosed with or without metabolic syndrome.

"In our study, metabolically healthy people―both obese and non-obese―had lower levels of a range of inflammatory markers," said the study's lead author, Catherine Phillips, BSc, PhD, of University College Cork in Ireland. "Regardless of their body mass index, people with favorable inflammatory profiles also tended to have healthy metabolic profiles."

In a separate study involving obese male Zucker rats―which are used as an experimental model for human metabolic syndrome characterized by chronic inflammation, obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance―researchers have discovered that feeding them a diet of blueberries for two months significantly lowered their levels of inflammation markers.

Furthermore, a diet consisting of wild blueberries also lowered LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the obese Zucker rats in a comparative study with both obese and non-obese rats fed either a blueberry or non-blueberry diet.

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According to a news release issued by the University of Maine, the study’s principal investigator University of Maine professor Dorothy Klimis-Zacas stated that there was an overall anti-inflammatory effect in the obese rats evidenced by circulating levels of inflammatory markers that were found to be reduced in their blood, fatty tissues and livers. She found the blueberry-enriched diet improved abnormal overall blood lipid profiles and the genetic expression of enzymes that regulate lipids and cholesterol.

The implications of their findings is that by eating blueberries on a daily basis, many overweight and obese individuals may prevent or recover from developing metabolic syndrome.

Being able to improve health by eating blueberries rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that prevent degenerative disease, rather than relying on pharmaceuticals, is a great benefit, states Dr. Dorothy Klimis-Zacas. The results of her study were recently published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry and the British Journal of Nutrition.

For a recipe on how to incorporate blueberries into a tasty health drink that Dr. Oz promotes as a longevity drink, click on the following link titled, “Live Longer By Making Your Own Dr. Oz Approved Longevity Grape Drink.”

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption improves inflammatory status in the obese Zucker rat model of the metabolic syndrome The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry Volume 24, Issue 8, August 2013, Pages 1508–1512; Stefano Vendrame et al.

Wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)-enriched diet improves dyslipidaemia and modulates the expression of genes related to lipid metabolism in obese Zucker rats British Journal of Nutrition FirstView Article pp. 1-7, Published online: 06 August 2013; Stefano Vendrame et al.

Does Inflammation Determine Metabolic Health Status in Obese and Nonobese Adults? The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism August 26, 2013; Catherine M. Phillips and Ivan J. Perry