Women who consumed at least three to four servings of berries every week had fewer heart attacks than those who didn’t. The reason being is berries, notably strawberries and blueberries, contain high levels of compounds that offer heart benefits.

strawberryResearch, reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association, shows that eating three to four servings of blueberries or blackberries every week can slash your risk of having a heart attack by as much as one-third.

Blueberries and strawberries are filled with naturally-occurring compounds known as dietary flavonoids, which can also be found in wine, other types of berries, grapes, certain fruits and vegetables, and eggplant. Anthocyanins, a sub-class of flavonoids, may assist with widening up the arteries, reverse the buildup of plaque and provide other cardiovascular benefits, according to the research.

Blueberries and strawberries can easily be included into what women eat every week. Blueberries can be sprinkled on top of oatmeal for breakfast or the berries can be eaten as a dessert after dinner. This simple change can have a major impact on preventing heart disease.

Blueberries and strawberries were chosen in this study because those are the most eaten berries in the U.S. In this manner, it’s likely that other foods could produce the same benefits, said the researchers.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health did a study that involved 94,000 women, all between the ages of 25-45 who were registered with the Nurse’ Health Study II. The women in the study filled out a survey about their diet every four years for eighteen years.

During the study, around 400 heart attacks occurred. Those who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a 33% reduction in their risk of a heart attack compared to women who consumed strawberries or blueberries once a month or none—even in women who did not eat berries but added other fruits to their diets.

Studies have shown that eating berries at an early age may reduce risk of a heart attack later on in life. The findings however were not dependent on other risk factors such as hypertension, family history of heart attack, exercise, smoking, age, body weight, and caffeine or alcohol intake.

The American Heart Association backs up eating berries as part of an overall healthy diet that includes other kinds of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to get all of the necessary nutrients.

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