A significant study associated eating berries with improved heart health. And, you cannot get the same benefit from a supplement or pill.
You will not be needing a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down; eating more and strawberries and blueberries may be a tasty way to protect your heart.
The finding comes from a recent study led by Dr. Eric Rimm, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. He mentioned that, “The sooner people go on the type of diet that includes a higher intake of strawberries and blueberries, the better.”
Dr. Rimm’s team gathered data from about 93,600 women, whose ages range from 25-42, signed up for the Nurses’ Health Study. Over the course of 18 years, the participants reported how often they consumed various kinds of food.
So, why study relatively young women? Because these group are at low risk of heart attack. Factors that increase this risk should be easier to factor out in this population, as compared to older people with various heart attack risk factors. Also, risk factors present in young women are likely apply to older men and women.
A risk factor did turn up: women who ate the fewest strawberries and blueberries were at increased risk of heart attack. Those who consumed the most were 34% less likely to have suffered a heart attack, as compared to the women who ate the least of these fruits.
How Much Berries Do You Have to Eat?
There was not much difference between women who consumed just a few berries now and then, and those women who did not eat any at all. There seems to be a threshold effect, and that is, one has to consume a minimum amount of berries to get heart benefits.
“The participants with heart benefits had 3 or more servings of a 1/2 cup of strawberries or blueberries each week”.
But, why just blueberries and strawberries? This is because these berries are particularly rich in chemical compounds known as anthocyanins. Study suggests that anthocyanins have various effects on the body. They make blood vessels more elastic, and lower blood pressure.
Also, not only are strawberries delicious and juicy, these fruits may also lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a signal of inflammation in the body. High CRP levels are linked with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease, and levels often go up when people with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis have a flare, as well.
- Start your day with berries in your cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothie.
- Always leave the produce aisle with berries in your shopping cart.
- Berries are good in green salads. You may also consider adding walnuts, sunflower seeds, or garbanzo beans for added protein.
- Strawberry shortcake and blueberry pie don’t count, thse contain too much sugar and fat. Consume berry-flavored desserts sparingly, and opt a dish of “naked” berries for dessert instead.
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