The Nurses’ Health Study was started in 1989 in Boston and followed the health of 93,600 nurses. It is one of the largest studies into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women. One of the questions researchers posed was to look at heart attack risk among the group.
Eric Rimm, a nutrition scientist from the Harvard School of Public Health, analyzed the data and was able to see a long-term trend that nurses in the study who ate at least three servings of blueberries or strawberries per week had a 32% reduced risk of a heart attack than the nurses who ate the berries less than once a month. It was concluded it was the presence of anthocyanins in the berries that was giving the nurses the great benefits for heart health.
Anthocyanins are a natural groups of plant chemicals found in fruits such as berries, cherries, apples, but also eggplants. They give the fruits their rich, vibrant and dark color, and protect them from UV radiation and the oxygen in the air. It is now recognized that, when we eat these colorful foods containing anthocyanins, this protective effect is passed on to us!