Young and middle-age women with diets high in anthocyanin—a substance found in red and blue fruits such as strawberries and blueberries—were about a third less likely to suffer heart attacks, according to a Harvard study. Researchers based their findings on the Nurses’ Health Study II, in which 93,600 participants disclosed their eating habits and lifestyle factors every four years starting in 1991, when their ages were 25 to 42.
Heart attack risks declined for women who ate three or more half-cup servings of berries each week. There is potential in the cardiovascular benefits of berries to make a huge impact in heart attack prevention. (And if you’re thinking of skipping the fruit and taking supplements, don’t. Researchers said supplements might not offer the same protective effects.)
In previous studies, anthocyanin reduced inflammation and deterred further deposits of plaque, or fatty deposits, in arteries.
So if your fridge isn’t full of blues and reds already, it might be time to stock up on blueberries and strawberries and make your diet a heart healthy one. But make sure your eating habits are balanced with other fruits and vegetables, too, to get all the nutrients your body needs to help prevent health problems.
Other ways to keep your heart healthy: “Ticker Treat: Stay Heart Healthy”