Scientists have shown that women who consume three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week may lower their risk of a heart attack by up to one-third, according to the Daily Telegraph
. The scientists studied blueberries and strawberries as they are the most-eaten berries in the United States.
According to a report
, the research was part of a study of 93,600 women ages 25 to 42, who were registered with the Nurses' Health Study II. For the study, the women completed questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years.
Importantly, the findings were independent of risk factors such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, weight, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake.
The reason for the apparent protective effects of these fruits is due to blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of naturally occurring compounds called dietary flavonoids
. Flavonoids are known for their antioxidant activity A specific type of flavonoids, called anthocyanins, found in these fruits, may help dilate arteries, counter the build-up of plaque and provide cardiovascular benefits. Anthocyanidins are common plant pigments.
The study was led by Eric Rimm D.Sc., Associate Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass., and it has been published
in the publication Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
More research will be needed to see if the data stands up against the general population. Last year the Digital Journal
reported that avocado was the latest 'super food', in being a rich source of antioxidants.