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Eating Alaska blueberries has 'significant impact' on heart problems, study finds

Alaska Dispatch

Another reason to go berry picking come autumn: New research shows that filling up on blueberries and strawberries may help prevent heart attacks in women.

Science Daily writes that new research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries a week may cut women’s risk of heart attack up to a third.

Blueberries have long been revered as a rich source of antioxidants. And the good news for Alaskans is that the many species of Alaska blueberries have far higher antioxidant levels than cultivated blueberries -- and more than wild blueberries found in the Lower 48.

The berries have high levels of compounds called dietary flavonoids, a type of antioxidant also found in wine, eggplants and other fruits and vegetables. The study points to a sub-class of flavonoids called anthocyanins that may provide cardiovascular benefits such as countering the buildup of plaque and helping to dilate arteries.

The study was conducted among 93,600 women ages 25 to 42; they were given surveys about their diet every four years for 18 years. Around 400 heart attacks occurred during the study, and women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries saw a 32-percent reduction in the risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less, even if their diets included many other fruits and vegetables.

"Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week," said Eric Rimm, senior author and associate professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. "This simple dietary change could have a significant impact."

Read more at Science Daily.