Eating Strawberries, Blueberries Reduce Risk of Heart Attack
Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States and the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom report that women who eat at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries a week may have a lower risk for heart attacks. The study was recently published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
The prospective study involved 93,600 women ages 25 to 42 who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The women were asked to complete questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years. 405 heart attacks occurred during the study.
Analysis of data showed that women who ate the most strawberries and blueberries (at least three times a week) reduced their risk for heart attacks by one-third compared to women who ate the fruits only once a month or less. This held true even if the women consumed other types of fruits. Furthermore, the presence of other risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake did not significantly affect the findings.
Blueberries and strawberries are known to contain high levels of compounds called flavonoids that have cardiovascular benefits. Flavonoids are also found in wine, grapes, blackberries, and other fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins, a specific sub-class of flavonoids, may help widen arteries, prevent the buildup of cholesterol plaques and impart other cardiovascular benefits. The American Heart Association recommends eating blueberries and strawberries as well as other fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products as part of a balanced diet.
American Heart Association. Strawberries, blueberries may cut heart attack risk in women. ScienceDaily.
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