There is evidence that wild blueberries, native to the USA’s Maine, Atlantic Canada and Quebec, can lower the risks of cardiovascular disease.

A University of Maine study is the first using rats to demonstrate a relationship between consumption of whole wild blueberries and calming stress-related reactions that can lead to high blood pressure.

The blueberry-chomping rats generated less force in their blood circulation in response to phenylephrine, a stress hormone, than did arteries in rats fed the same diet without blueberries, meaning their arteries remained relaxed under stressful conditions.

The two-year research project led by Dorothy Klimis-Zacas was funded in part by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America.