A spoonful of sugar isn't needed to help this medicine go down: eating more blueberries and strawberries may be a tasty way to protect the heart, reports the July 2013 Harvard Heart Letter.
The berry connection was uncovered in a new study led by Dr. Eric Rimm, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. He and his team gathered data from 93,600 women, who, at ages 25 to 42, signed up for the Nurses' Health Study. Over the course of 18 years, they reported how often they ate various kinds of food.
Berries emerged as a protective factor. Women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries were 34% less likely to have suffered a heart attack during the study period than women who ate the least of these fruits.
How much berries are needed? "The people with heart benefits had three or more servings of half a cup of blueberries or strawberries each week," Rimm says.
The study focused on young and middle-aged women. But the findings likely apply to everyone, including men.
"The sooner people start the type of diet that includes a higher intake of blueberries and strawberries, the better," Dr. Rimm says.
Read the full-length article: "Eat blueberries and strawberries three times per week"