Berries can reduce the risk of heart attack in women?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Anthocyanins found in blueberries and strawberries may help to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women.
WHAT WE KNOW
Blueberries and strawberries are popular berry varieties in the United States. They are full of flavor, fiber and nutrition. Berries have gained a lot of attention in the scientific community due to their high levels of antioxidants. Anthocyanins, a class of antioxidant, are found in high concentrations in fruits, such as berries, and in flowers. These compounds provide the pigments (color) in fruits and flowers, and they carry numerous health benefits.
Your body regularly produces free radicals which can be damaging to body tissues. For example, oxidation within the body caused by free radicals contributes to atherosclerosis (plaque formation within the arteries). Antioxidants aid the body by attaching to free radicals and “escorting” them out thus avoiding tissue damage. You can find a variety of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. A recent study shows that the anthocyanin class of antioxidants, found in blueberries and strawberries and other red/blue fruits and vegetables, may help to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in some women.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A new study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation has found a link between the consumption of blueberries and strawberries and risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. The study followed 93,600 women between the ages of 25-42 years old over an 18-year period. Data was collected every four (4) years via food frequency questionnaires. Researchers concluded that women who consumed three (3) or more servings (1 serving= ½ cup) each week of blueberries or strawberries reduced their risk of heart attack by about one third or 32%.*
While research on a specific fruit or vegetable is exciting, don’t forget that there’s an colorful variety awaiting you! Anthcyanins are also in other red/blue fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, cranberries, cherries, Concord grapes, blood oranges, plums, red cabbage, radicchio, and purple cauliflower.
Remember that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t worry if you don’t always have access to fresh produce, all forms of fruits and vegetables matter when it comes to balanced nutrition!
Here are a few ways to incorporate more berries into your diet …
- Top whole grain cereal and nonfat milk with blueberries or strawberries.
- Add frozen berries to a fruit smoothie. Try our After-School Strawberry Shake!
- Savor sweet blueberries in a delicious salad. Check out our Avocado & Blueberry Fruit Salad.
- Pack a ½ cup serving of berries in a Tupperware container or plastic bag. Pair with almonds or walnuts for a mid-afternoon snack!
* Cassidy, Aedin, Kenneth Mukamal, Lydia Liu, et al. “High Anthocyanin Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Young and Middle-Aged Women.” Circulation 127.2 (2013): n. pag. 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2013. View Article