blueberries

Berries may lower women’s heart attack risk

A new study led by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the University of East Anglia finds that women who eat three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries each week may lower their risk of having a heart attack. The berries contain the dietary flavonoid anthocyanin, which may benefit the heart by improving blood flow and countering the build-up of plaque.

The researchers 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. The study appeared in the January 14, 2013 issue of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Circulation.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, who are more likely to die from a heart attack than men.

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

Read coverage on CBS News and NPR

Read the AHA press release

Learn more

Eating berries may protect against Parkinson’s disease (HSPH News)

Department of Nutrition

photo: iStockphoto.com