Blueberries reduce the risk of heart attack

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Heart health: Long-term study shows that strawberries or blueberries reduce the risk of heart attack in women

Strawberries or blueberries are true fitness-enhancers - this is the result of a long-term study that has now been published by an international team of researchers in the journal Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. According to this, "a high intake of the ingredient anthocyanin can reduce the risk of heart attack in young women." However, further studies are necessary here "to further examine to what extent an increased intake of anthocyanin-rich foods would have an impact on health."

According to the study, three servings of these fruits per week would help reduce the risk of heart attack for women by a third. The reason for this are the ingredients from the group of so-called anthocyanins, because according to the report of the international research team, these would keep the blood vessels fit.

Valuable ingredients expand the arteries. Strawberries and blueberries contain a large number of flavonoids, which on the one hand take care of the flower color, but also have protective functions for the plant. According to the research team led by Eric Rimm from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, the so-called anthocyanins, which are a subset of the flavonoids, are particularly relevant for human health, because according to the study, these would expand the arteries, the development prevent plaques in the blood vessels.

Eating these two types of fruit frequently could prevent heart disease, for example: "We have shown that increased consumption of these fruits from an early age can reduce the risk of heart attack later in life," said lead author Aedín Cassidy of the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

Anthocyanins as a healer? But anthocyanins can do even more: According to the nutritionist at aid infodienst Harald Seitz, these could also help prevent cancer, since they would influence the body's protective mechanisms and strengthen the immune system. According to the nutrition experts, raspberries in particular are often mentioned in the media as cancer protectors. However, according to Seitz, the raspberries would not do justice to this image because of the anthocyanin content, but rather through another ingredient, the so-called ellagic acid. This would apparently help “to reduce the risk of lung and esophageal cancer,” Seitz said - which has so far only been shown in laboratory tests.

Few heart attacks due to regular consumption of strawberries and blueberries For the current long-term study, an international medical team examined a total of 93,600 women between the ages of 25 and 42 who had filled out questionnaires on their diet quarterly over a period of 18 years.

Over the course of the 18 years, 405 women had suffered a heart attack - but through the regular documentation of the dietary habits by the study participants, the researchers came to an interesting result: This showed that women who had strawberries or blueberries at least three times a week Ate fewer cases had occurred than those who had eaten the fruit at most once a month. The consumption of other fruits or vegetables could not compensate for this.

However, since the risk of a heart attack, according to the physicians, would increase particularly with increasing age and generally higher for men, there has so far been little research to investigate how nutrition in younger women affects future health.

The positive effects of berries have already been shown in earlier studies. However, previous studies had already shown that flavonoids have a positive effect on cardiovascular health in principle and that plant substances would have a greater antioxidative effect than, for example, vitamin E - and thus cell aging to a greater extent could stop.

Effects also possible with other berry varieties According to the researchers, the result of the long-term study would only relate to how strawberries and blueberries would generally affect the heart health of women if they were consumed frequently - further risk factors such as age, blood pressure, family history, weight , Exercise, smoking and caffeine and alcohol consumption would not have been taken into account in the study. Strawberries and blueberries had been the focus of the study, as these two types of berries are particularly popular in the United States.

Because of the concentration on these two types of berries, it cannot be ruled out that other berries or other types of fruit or vegetables could also have a positive effect on heart health. Based on the results, there is a presumption that "other foods rich in anthocyanins such as blueberries, blackberries or eggplants could have a similar effect". For this reason, the experts recommend that berries should be included in the daily diet as a precaution, which should also include sufficient other fruits, vegetables and whole grains. (sb)

Image: Birgit H,

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