Heart health: eat red fruits and vegetables

This study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition suggests that anthocyanins, antioxidants from the family of flavonoids abundant in particular in red fruits, could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular mortality. This meta-analysis is the largest and most comprehensive assessment to date of the association between dietary anthocyanin intake and cardiovascular disease risk.

To get an idea of ​​the red fruits and vegetables that you can frequently add to your diet, here is a non-exhaustive list:

bilberry, strawberry, raspberry, pink grapefruit, cherry, pomegranate, cranberry, guava, watermelon, pomegranate, beetroot, radish, tomato, chili pepper, rhubarb, bell pepper, grape, papaya and red cabbage.

19 studies involving 600,000 adults followed

To do this, the authors reviewed 19 published studies, involving more than 602,000 adults in the United States, Europe and Australia. They compared the consumption of dietary anthocyanins to the incidence of heart disease and its consequences, such as stroke, heart attack and mortality. All studies were prospective cohort studies, conducted for a period of 4 to 41 years.

The results indicate that people with the highest anthocyanin intake were 9% less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease and had an 8% reduced risk of dying from causes associated with heart disease, compared to those with the lowest intake. of these antioxidants.

The Weak Hearts of Americans

After pooling and analyzing the results of these studies, the researchers admittedly found that a higher intake of dietary anthocyanins was associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease and heart disease-related death. But a counter-analysis reveals that these results are only significant for studies conducted in the United States. This may indicate a particularly strong effect of anthocyanins on heart health in the context of the Western diet in general.

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These data support previous work that has already observed that increased consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods can improve not only cardiovascular risk factors, but also the risk of type 2 diabetes and premature death from all causes.


Kimble R: Dietary intake of anthocyanins and risk of cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2018, 2:1-12.


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