Berries and Heart Health

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in the United States and the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom looked at diet surveys of 93,600 women, ages 25-42, collected over a period of 18 years and found that those who ate three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week experienced a decreased risk of heart attack of more than 30%.

Blueberries, strawberries contain high levels of naturally occurring compounds called dietary flavonoids, that are also found in grapes, wine, blackberries, eggplant, and other fruits and vegetables, which have cardiovascular benefits. Reporting in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers said that blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of a specific sub-class of flavonoids, called anthocyanins which may help dilate arteries, counter the buildup of plaque and seem to provide other cardiovascular benefits.

Researchers said that the findings were independent of other known risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake.  Interestingly, the women who reported eating blueberries and strawberries were shown to have a lower risk even among women who ate a variety of other fruits and vegetables.

We agree with the American Heart Association in recommendation of eating berries as part of an overall balanced diet that also includes other fruits, vegetables. As we have written many times before, eating a wide variety of fresh, whole, natural foods is the best way to get the optimal amount of nutrients.  Scientists often say that the number of yet undiscovered, yet most likely essential compounds in fruits and vegetables, is greater than the ones we know about.  New compounds and their potential health benefits are being discovered.  This is why we stress that supplements will never replace the need to eat real, whole and natural foods.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.


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