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heartCan a bowl of berries stave off a heart attack? Seems so! Recent studies are showing that women who ate three or more servings of blueberries or strawberries a week have a dramatically reduced risk for heart attacks.

Berries are rich in antioxidants called flavonoids. A particular type of flavonoid called anthocyanins may counter the buildup of artery clogging plaque and improve blood flow.

One expert backs the studies findings saying, “This class of foods helps to dilate the arteries and reduce inflammation of the arteries, therefore reducing heart attack rates,” says Dr. Mary Ann McLaughlin, an associate professor of cardiology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City who was not involved in the study.

The same flavonoids found in berries are also found in other foods, like eggplant, blackberries, grapes and wine. The American Heart Association recommends these foods being added to a diet already rich in vegetables and fruits. Exercise, a plant-based diet, avoiding processed foods and those high in sodium, and reducing stress are all key in reducing your risk of heart disease.

And remember to add some blueberries or strawberries to your diet a few times a week. Make your heart and your taste buds happy! Be well!~heart

Shelli Rossignol lmt/cr January 2013

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