Berries dramatically reduce heart attack risk in women
A new weapon against heart attacks can now be found in your grocer’s aisle.
According to a recent study published in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation, women who consumed three or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week for almost 20 years dramatically reduced their risk of having a heart attack.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And when it comes to heart attacks specifically, many women may not realize that their heart attack symptoms are often different than men. The AHA states that women may be more likely to experience other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain.
So how might blueberries and strawberries help stave off a heart attack?
Authors of the study say a particular type of flavonoids found in blueberries and strawberries called “anthocyanins” may improve blood flow, counter the buildup of plaque and provide other benefits that help keep your heart healthy. These flavonoids can also be found in wine, grapes, blackberries and other fruits and vegetables.
The long-running study surveyed more than 93,000 female nurses between 25 and 42, asking about their diets every four years for 18 years. Out of this large group of participants, only 405 nurses had heart attacks.
Researchers found that the women who ate more strawberries and blueberries were 32 percent less likely to experience a heart attack, compared to those who consumed berries once a month or less.
It’s important to note that the study was observational, meaning it did not show a direct cause-and-effect relationship between berries and heart attack protection. Researchers discovered the link after ruling out other factors that may contribute to heart attacks.
Many leading health organizations and nutritionists recommend eating berries as part of an overall balanced diet that also includes other fruits, whole-grains and veggies. Dr. Vincent Bufalino, vice president of cardiology at Advocate Health Care, says women can also reduce their heart risks by adopting an overall healthier lifestyle, including regular exercise, reducing stress, reducing salt-intake and avoiding smoking.
For more information about heart care, visit iHeartAdvocate.com.
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