Researchers at the University of  Prince Edward Island are studying the effects of blueberries on the health of Islanders.

Over the last 10 years, UPEI researchers have shown that blueberries can have a positive impact on the health of animals.

A small pilot project was conducted several years ago, with positive results. Now the researchers are looking for participants for a bigger study to evaluate whether eating blueberries can positively impact the health of people at risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Kathy Gotchell-Pass is one of the lead researchers and is with the UPEI Department of Applied Human Sciences.

“Blueberries can lower blood pressure, they can change different antioxidant systems in the body. We are recruiting about 30 to 40 adults, they can be male or female, and we are looking for individuals who perhaps have a bit of a risk at developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes. So perhaps they're a bit overweight, perhaps they do have some hypertension,” she said.

“We're very optimistic and very hopeful that we will be able to see some of those risk factors changing in our participants.”

The study will also be the first time Island researchers will use a new piece of equipment called an EndoPAT which is a non-invasive tool that allows researchers to measure how well blood vessels are functioning.

The study will be completed this summer, and the results will likely be released in the fall.