A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (February 2008, Volume 87, Number 2, Pages 323-331) looked at the health benefits of berries; 72 middle-aged subjects were divided into two groups. One group was used as a control and was given sugar water, sweet rice porridge, marmalade sweets, or sweet semolina porridge. The test group was given 100 grams of whole bilberries and 50 grams of nectar from lingonberries every other day. On the days they did not consume the nectar and the bilberries, they received 100 grams of a puree made from black currants or strawberries.

The study lasted for eight weeks. The group receiving the berries enjoyed a 5.2% increase in HDL (the “good” cholesterol), improvements in blood pressure and improvements in platelet function (ie, less likely to form clots).