Strawberries and blueberries don’t just taste great, they also can significantly reduce a young women’s chance of having a heart attack. A twenty year study (which let’s face it folks must have taken up a career for some of these researchers) of 90,000 women ages 25 to 42 found that those gals who munched on at least 3 servings of these delicious berries weekly were 30% less likely to have suffered a heart attack than their compatriots, who ate only one serving monthly. You might raise the objection-hey, I bet those berry lovers were granola gals-ie ate a healthy diet and the others were McDonald’s frequent diners, but the findings held true even for those who had otherwise healthy food intake but held off on the berries.
What is it in these particular berries than might be the cause? Well, strawberries and blueberries contain high levels of anthocyanins (I had to check my spelling on this one) which give them their distinct colors. These compounds seem to reduce inflammation and nitric oxide in the body. This in turn keeps arteries flexible and less likely to develop those nasty plaques of atherosclerosis. And as interesting is that chronic inflammation has also been shown to predispose one toward cancer. This study did not address that topic, so the jury’s out on whether these berries reduce cancer risk.
It seems logical that eating these berries would help women of other ages and even guys to reduce heart attack risk. Again, this study was not designed to answer those questions, so technically it is unknown whether other population groups would benefit from strawberry and blueberry consumption. On the other hand, what harm would it be to eat a bowl of these fruits every few days or so? This does not mean by the way that you could sprinkle one or two on top of that huge mound of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate ice cream and feel good about reducing your heart attack risk!