A new study has found that red and blue fruits, such as strawberries and blueberries, help ward off myocardial infarction in young and middle-age women.
According to MedPage Today, women whose diets included high levels of anthocyanins, the flavonoids found in the aforementioned fruits, had a significantly reduced risk of myocardial infarction or heart attack.
The study, published online in Circulation, found that women whose anthocyanin intake was in the highest quintile or top fifth had a 32 percent decrease in the risk of heart attack during 18 years of follow up.
The study also found that women who ate more than three servings of berries a week experienced a 34 percent decrease in MI risk, compared to women who rarely ate berries.
The researchers said, “Growing evidence supports the beneficial effects of dietary flavonoids on endothelial function and blood pressure, suggesting that flavonoids might be more likely than other dietary factors to lower the risk of [coronary heart disease] in predominantly young women.”
The researchers followed 93,600 women aged 25 to 42 from the Nurses’ Health Study. The women completed a questionnaire every four years that asked about their lifestyle and food frequency. Out of those 93,600 women, there were only 405 reported cases of MI. The median age was 48.9.
While the study supported the use of flavonoids found in berries as a way to reduce the risk of heart attack, it did not support the use of flavonoid supplements, according to Dr. Michael Rinaldi. He said it would require a different study to make that conclusion.
“Clearly a healthy diet improves cardiovascular health,” Rinaldi, who was not involved in the research, said. “A diet that’s heavy in fruits and vegetables, including the fruits mentioned in this study, are clearly beneficial to patients.”