|Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor|
Something as simple as adding a few more berries rich in antioxidants to your diet could reduce your risk of heart attack by 33%. That’s the finding of a recent study conducted at Harvard University, which examined the association between strawberry and blueberry consumption and heart attack occurrence in women.
The study included 93,600 women between the ages of 25 and 42 who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The researchers collected dietary data every four years over the course of the 18 year trial period.
During that time, 405 women suffered from heart attacks. The researchers analyzed the data and found that the women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a one-third lower risk of heart attack compared to women who only ate them once a month or less.
The researchers believe that the heart health benefits are due to the high anthocyanin content of these berries They note, however, that more research needs to be conducted before specific recommendations can be made about fruits and heart health.
The study was published on January 15, 2013, in the journal Circulation.
Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols. They can be found in red/purplish fruits and vegetables such as berries, purple cabbage, beets and purple grapes. They help protect the body from damage by free radicals, which may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Strawberries and blueberries can easily be incorporated into your daily diet. Try adding them to cereal, yogurt, or pancakes in the morning. They also make a great midday snack or a healthy alternative to ice cream or cakes for dessert.