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Women Who Eat Strawberries and Blueberries Less Prone to Heart Attack

Update Date: Jan 15, 2013 07:21 AM EST

For all the women who are worried about their heart health, here's good news. Consumption of a minimum of three or more servings of strawberries and blueberries a week might reduce heart attack threats by a whopping one-third.

Researchers have found that blueberries and strawberries have high levels of flavonoids also found in grapes, blackberries, eggplant and other vegetables. However, what sets strawberries and blueberries apart is the presence of anthocyanins, a particular subdivision of flavonoids. This anthocyanin could help in dilating the artery and reduce the build up of a wax-like substance called plaque, thus reducing the threat of heart attack.

A heart attack is generally caused when the flow of oxygenated blood to a particular heart muscle section is hampered. The common cause of heart attack is coronary heart disease, wherein plaque accumulates inside the coronary arteries which supply oxygenated blood to the heart.

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

For the current research, 93,600 women aged between 25 and 42 who were registered with the Nurses' Health Study II were asked to fill in a list of questions pertaining to every minute detail of their diet, every four years for a total duration of 18 years.

Through the entire duration of the research, a total number of 402 heart attacks occurred. It was observed that women who ate blueberries and strawberries frequently had reduced chances of heart attack by a considerable 32 percent, as opposed to the women who rarely ate them even though they ate other forms of 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," Aedin Cassidy, Ph.D., lead author and head of the Department of Nutrition at Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom, was quoted as saying in Medical Express.

The research is reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

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