Strawberries, blueberries may cut heart attack risk in women

January 14, 2013

Eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week may help women reduce their risk of a heart attack by as much as one-third, researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of naturally occurring compounds called dietary flavonoids, also found in grapes and wine, blackberries, eggplant, and other . A specific sub-class of flavonoids, called , may help dilate arteries, counter the buildup of plaque and provide other , according to the study.

"Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week," said Eric Rimm D.Sc., senior author and Associate Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts."

Blueberries and strawberries were part of this analysis simply because they are the most-eaten berries in the United States. Thus, it's possible that other foods could produce the same results, researchers said.

Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States and the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom conducted a prospective study among 93,600 women ages 25 to 42 who were registered with the Nurses' II. The women completed questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years.

During the study, 405 heart attacks occurred. Women who ate the most and strawberries had a 32-percent reduction in their risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less – even in women who otherwise ate a diet rich in other fruits 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 Aedín Cassidy, Ph.D., lead author and head of the Department of Nutrition at Norwich Medical School of the University of in Norwich, United Kingdom.

The findings were independent of other risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake.

The supports eating berries as part of an overall balanced diet that also includes other fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products. Eating a variety of foods is the best way to get the right amounts of nutrients.

Explore further: Eating flavonoids protects men against Parkinson's disease

Related Stories

Eating flavonoids protects men against Parkinson's disease

April 4, 2012
Men who eat flavonoid-rich foods such as berries, tea, apples and red wine significantly reduce their risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to new research by Harvard University and the University of East Anglia ...

Eating citrus fruit may lower women's stroke risk

February 23, 2012
A compound in citrus fruits may reduce your stroke risk, according to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Eating more berries may reduce cognitive decline in the elderly

April 26, 2012
Blueberries and strawberries, which are high in flavonoids, appear to reduce cognitive decline in older adults according to a new study published today in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association ...

Vegetables, fruits, grains reduce stroke risk in women

December 1, 2011
Swedish women who ate an antioxidant-rich diet had fewer strokes regardless of whether they had a previous history of cardiovascular disease, in a study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommended for you

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

Heart study finds faulty link between biomarkers and clinical outcomes

July 14, 2017
Surrogate endpoints (biomarkers), which are routinely used in clinical research to test new drugs, should not be trusted as the ultimate measure to approve new health interventions in cardiovascular medicine, according to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.