Women who eat three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries every week may reduce heart attack risk by up to one-third.
Blueberries and strawberries contain plenty of flavonoids, which also occur in grapes and wine, and some other fruits and vegetables. Specifically, a subclass of flavonoids called anthocyanins may assist the cardiovascular system, for example by dilating the arteries, and preventing plaque accumulation.
“Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week,” said senior study author Eric Rimm at the Harvard School of Public Health in a press release. “This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts.”
The researchers used questionnaires to study the diets of 93,600 women aged 25 to 42 every four years for 18 years. Just over 400 heart attacks happened during the study period.
The team found that those women with the greatest amount of strawberries and blueberries in their diet had a reduced risk of heart attack 32 percent lower than women who only ate berries once per month or less, even if their diets contained plenty of other fruit 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,” said study lead author Aedín Cassidy at the U.K.’s University of East Anglia in the release.
The results were not linked to other variables like age, smoking, alcohol consumption or family history.
The study was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
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