Women who ate at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries each week had fewer heart attacks. Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of natural nutritive compounds that have cardiovascular benefits.
Eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week may help women reduce their risk of a heart attack by as much as one-third, research scientists reported in the professional publication Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of naturally occurring compounds defined as dietary flavonoids; They’re also naturally-present in grapes and wine, blackberries, eggplant and other fruits and vegetables. The specific class of flavonoids (known as anthocyanins) are believed to help dilate arteries, helping prevent the buildup of plaque and provide a range of cardiovascular benefits, according to the study.
“Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week,” explained researchers of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School
of Public Health in Boston, Mass. “This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts.”Blueberries and strawberries are the most-commonly eaten berries in the United States. Other fruits, berries and vegetable foods could provide the same benefits and healthful results, the researchers said.
Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States and the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom conducted a prospective study among 93,600 women ages 25 to 42 who were registered with the Nurses’ Health Study II.
The women completed questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years.
During the study, 405 heart attacks occurred. Women who ate the most blueberries
and strawberries had a 32-percent reduction in their risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less — even in women who otherwise
ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables.
“We have shown that even at an early age, eating more of these fruits may reduce
risk of a heart attack later in life,” confirmed the research team from the Department
of Nutrition at Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom.
The findings were independent of other risk key factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake.
The American Heart Association supports eating berries as part of an overall balanced diet that also includes other fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products. Eating a variety of these healthful foods is the best way to assure the proper levels of the specific dietary flavonoids (anthocyanins)
American Heart Association
Journal Reference: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association., 2013
“High Anthocyanin Intake Is Associated With a Reduced Risk of Myocardial
Infarction in Young and Middle-Aged Women”
This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice,diagnosis or treatment. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutritional consultation.