Thursday, 23 October 2014

New research suggests that women who eat berries can lower their risk of heart attack

I love berries, whether it be strawberries or blueberries. So, when I heard about a recent study suggesting that sprinkling just a few more blueberries in your yogurt or blending strawberries into your morning smoothie may help reduce heart attack risk, I was excited. 

Berries are so yummy, bright, flavourful, and sweet superfruits that have a long list of health benefits. Along with all the benefits, these colourful fruits are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which help to fight chronic disease and cancer. 

“Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week,” says senior author Dr. Eric Rimm, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology. “This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts.”

The researchers of the study drew from the health data of 93,600 female nurses between 25 and 42 who were surveyed about their diets every four years for 18 years. During the study, 405 heart attacks occurred. Women who ate the most blueberries 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. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, who are more likely to die from a heart attack than men.

“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 Dr. Aedín Cassidy, the lead author and head of the Department of Nutrition at Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom.  

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

Furthermore, the American Heart Association 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.

Sherldine Tomlinson.