Research from the American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report says that women can reduce their risk of heart attack by as much as 1/3 by eating 3 or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week. Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of natural compounds called dietary flavonoids, also found in grapes and wine, blackberries, eggplant, and other fruits and vegetables. According to the study a sub-class of flavonoids, called anthocyanins, may help dilate arteries, counter the buildup of plaque and provide other cardiovascular benefits. Since blueberries and strawberries can easily be added to what women eat every week Harvard professor of nutrition Eric Rimm says"This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts." Researchers said it’s possible other foods could have this same effect. Blueberries and strawberries were part of this study simply because they are the most-eaten berries in the United States.

Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia in England conducted a study of 93,600 women over a period of 18 years and found that the 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 in women who otherwise ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables.

Aedin Cassidy, PhD., head of the Department of Nutrition at East Anglia University stated: "We have shown that even at an early age, eating more of these fruits may reduce risk of a heart attack later in life."

The American Heart Association supports eating berries as part of an overall balanced diet that also includes other fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Getting the right amount of nutrients can be assured by eating a variety of foods. Reducing heart attack risk by 1/3 is highly significant, and doing it by adding blueberries and strawberries to your diet on a regular basis seems to be an easy and enjoyable way to do it.

So ladies—-go for those berries!