Eat blueberries and strawberries three times per week
A significant study links berry consumption with improved heart health. You can’t get the same benefit from a pill or supplement. The finding comes from a new study led by Dr. Eric Rimm, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. “The sooner people start the type of diet that includes a higher intake of blueberries and strawberries, the better,” Dr. Rimm says.
“The people with heart benefits had three or more servings of a half a cup of blueberries or strawberries each week,” Rimm says.
Berries good for everyone. The study focused on young and middle-aged women. But the findings likely apply to everyone, including men.
Why just blueberries and strawberries? These berries are particularly rich in chemical compounds called anthocyanins. Research suggests that anthocyanins have several effects on the body. They lower blood pressure, and they make blood vessels more elastic.
Not only are strawberries juicy and delicious, they also may lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body. High CRP levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and levels often spike when people with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus have a flare, as well.
How to get enough berries into your diet
Start the day with berries in your yogurt, cereal, oatmeal.
Berries are great in green salads. Also consider adding sunflower seeds, walnuts, or garbanzo beans for added protein.
Blueberry pie and strawberry shortcake don’t count—too much fat and too much sugar. Consume berry-flavored desserts sparingly, and choose a dish of “naked” berries for dessert instead.
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