Women Can Cut Heart Attack Risk by Eating Blueberries and Strawberries

Blueberry

Blueberry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ripe and unripe strawberries

Ripe and unripe strawberries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women who eat a minimum of three servings of blueberries and strawberries each week have fewer heart attacks according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. This is due to the high levels of dietary flavonoids they contain.  A specific type of flavonoids, known as anthocyanins, may help dilate arteries, provide protection from the buildup of plaque as well as other cardiovascular benefits.

These findings resulted from a study in which the researchers spent 18 years following the health of 93,600 women ages 25 to 42 years old who had participated in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) II. These women were all healthy at the beginning of NHS II in 1989. Flavonoid subclass intake was calculated from food-frequency questionnaires given to the participants every four years.

Here’s what the researchers found:

  • During 18 years of follow-up, 405 heart attacks occurred.
  • The higher the intake of anthocyanins, the lower the risk of heart attack. The women who ate the most strawberries and blueberries had a 32 percent decreased risk as compared to those who ate the least.
  • A history of medical conditions, including high blood pressure, did not significantly weaken the relationship between anthocyanins and decreased risk of heart attack .
  • Combined intake of blueberries and strawberries was associated with a 33 percent decreased risk of heart attack in a comparison between participants who ate more than three servings a week and those who ate fewer servings.
  • Intakes of other flavonoid subclasses were not significantly associated with heart attack risk.

 

 

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~ by chasm63 on January 15, 2013.

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