Berries for Heart and Blood Vessels Health
If only all medicine could be delicious!
Berries are tasty medicine from the Food Pharmacy. Rich in anti-antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, potassium. and soluble fiber, their frequent consumption can help to protect you from cardiovascular diseases especially when combined with a healthy lifestyle. Lower the risk for heart disease Harvard researchers followed 100,000 young and middle-aged women for 20 years and found that those who ate more than 3 servings of strawberries or blueberries a week reduced their risk for heart disease by 32% and heart attack by 35%(1).
Slash the risk for heart disease
Cardiovascular diseases–atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, vascular dementia, and hypertension– are caused by much more than accumulated cholesterol and fats in arteries. Oxidized cholesterol and fats, inflammation, sticky platelets, and reduced ability of the blood vessels to dilate, all contribute to these disease processes. The flavonoids and other compounds in berries target each of these problems. As antioxidants, they inhibit the oxidation of cholesterol. This is important because oxidized cholesterol triggers inflammation inside the arteries. Not only that, their red, purple, and blue pigments (anthocyanins) help to reduce cholesterol synthesis in the body. By inhibiting platelet clumping, they also lower the risk for undesirable clotting and consequently heart attacks and strokes. Plus, the soluble fiber in berries decreases cholesterol absorption in the body and removes it.
Lower the risk for high blood pressure
The phytochemicals in berries improve the production of nitric oxide. In moderation, this marvelous molecule opens up the blood vessels. (2) Just consuming one serving of berries a week can reduce the risk for hypertension by 10%.(3).
Help Fat Loss
Obesity is a risk factor for many cardiovascular conditions. One reason is that extra fat cells and belly fat fuel inflammation. Inflammation is involved in all stages of atherosclerosis. Rodent studies show that daily consumption of a diet of blueberries (2% of total diet) favorably affects genes that control the burning and storage of fat and promote the loss of belly-fat in rodents who had fatty livers.
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