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Dynamic Duo: Strawberries and Blueberries

Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of compounds that have cardiovascular benefits, particularly for women. As we've often noted, blueberries and strawberries are excellent additions to a healthy diet. New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association from two internationally respected research groups underscore the benefits, and found that strawberries and blueberries cut the risk rate of heart attacks in women. Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States and the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom conducted a study that included 93,600 women ages 25 to 42. During the 18 year-long study, participants completed questionnaires about their diet every four years. During that period, 405 heart attacks occurred to study participants. Researchers found that women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32-percent reduction in their risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less, even when compared to women who ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables. Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels flavonoids. Dietary flavonoids contribute to potentially expanded blood vessels, counteracting the build up of plaque in the coronary arteries, a contributing cause of heart attacks. Other risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake were taken into consideration when compiling the study results. Additional research, published last year in Annals of Neurology found that women who include blueberries and strawberries as a regular part of their nutritional regimen display a slower mental decline during aging than those who do not. Eat at least three one-cup servings per week for the best results. What a tasty way for natural  heart and brain health protection!

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