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Blueberries promote killer cells

New research suggests that daily blueberry consumption can increase the power of “natural killer cells,” critical to the healthy functioning of our immune systems.

Researchers have uncovered killer info that could help boost our immunity. A new study published in the journal Nutrition Research suggests that blueberries may help empower cells in our bodies that kill nasty things, like cancer.

“Evidence suggests that berries contain bioactive compounds, which reduce certain cancers and hypertension,” write the authors in the study’s abstract. “Our hypothesis was that daily blueberry (BB) consumption would increase natural killer (NK) cells.”

Killer, or “natural killer cells,” are a type of white blood cells critical to our immune systems (not to be confused with the bloody Oliver Stone flick of a similar name, though feel free to imagine tiny Woody Harrelsons and Juliette Lewises blasting away cells in our blood if it helps).

Researchers studied 25 men and postmenopausal women, ages 18 to 50 years, who were given the equivalent of 250 grams of blueberries or a placebo powder every day for six weeks. They took blood samples, blood pressure readings and tested vascular performance at the beginning of the study, and after six weeks.

They found that the level of natural killer cells increased in the subjects who ate the berries. Their diastolic blood pressure also went down.

In other berry good news for heart health, several recent studies suggest that the anthocyanins in strawberries may boost cardio health.

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