We all know the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables, but the Nurses’ Health Study has found that 3 or more servings (1/2 a cup) of berries, such as blueberries and strawberries a week can reduce the risk of heart attack in women.
During the study, 405 cases of MI were reported with an inverse relationship between those who ate berries on a regular basis. Women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries were 32% less likely to have a heart attack compared to those women who ate berries once/month or less. This was true regardless of eating a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables.
While more research is needed to confirm the results, it is known that berries contain high levels of flavonoids that help dilate arteries which lessens the risk of plaque build-up as well as promoting healthy blood pressure.
Anthocyanins are antioxidants, substances naturally found in plants that protect and repair cells from damage. Anthocyanins provide the red, blue and purple colors found in strawberries, blueberries and other fruits and vegetables.
Other research has shown these antioxidants to protect against heart disease by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, while enhancing capillary strength and inhibiting platelet formation. Berries are also densely packed with a variety of potent phytochemicals and fiber while at the same time lower in sugar.
Although the study focused on blueberries and strawberries, many other fruits and vegetables are rich in the anthocyanins. Among them: eggplant, raspberries, black currants, plums and cherries.
Eating more of these fruits and vegetables early on could have a significant effect on prevention efforts and pay off later, when heart attack risks rise with age! So eat away!
Resource: Exercises Etc. Inc., WebMd