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Strawberries, blueberries may cut heart risk in women

23 Jan 2013

A study published in the journal Circulation by researchers from the University of East Anglia and Harvard School of Health has suggested that women could reduce their risk of a heart attack by up to a third by eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week.  Cassidy et al. believe the anthocyanin content of these berries helps to dilate arteries, counter the build-up of plaque and provide other cardiovascular benefits.  The study involving a group of 93600 women from the US Nurses’ Health Study between the ages of 25-42 claims to be the first to investigate the impact of blueberries and strawberries in younger and middle age women.  Over 18 years, at interval of 4 years, the participants completed questionnaires about their diet.  Cassidy et al indicate that women who ate the most berries had a 32% reduction in their risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less.  The findings appeared to be independent of other risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake.  Perhaps most notably, adjustment for total fruit and vegetable intake did not significantly influence the results, which suggested that consumption of anthocyanin-rich fruit may provide additional cardiac benefits over fruits and vegetables in general.  The authors indicate that anthocyanins may work by improving HDL "good" cholesterol. They may also lessen inflammation, which is linked with heart attack risk.  The researchers do note however, that more trials are required to confirm these results and investigate effects of consuming anthocyanin-rich foods more fully.  They also point out that there are many other possible foods which may provide the same health benefits.

RSSL’s Functional Ingredients Laboratory can offer anthocyanin analysis by colorimetric methods or HPLC in a range of foods and beverages. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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