Strawberries and blueberries protect women’s hearts

The season of red fruits, especially strawberries and blueberries, which is beginning is a good opportunity to remember how good these local treasures are for your health. A recent publication shows that women who regularly eat these fruits have a lower risk of suffering a heart attack.

In addition to their extraordinary taste, strawberries and blueberries are the fruits that contain the highest amounts of anthocyanins, a class of polyphenols with multiple health benefits. Several studies carried out in our laboratory have shown that these molecules prevent the formation of a new blood network near tumors and, consequently, deprive them of their supply of oxygen and nutrients. Since all cancers are absolutely dependent on this blood supply, anthocyanins can therefore be considered very important preventive agents, capable of curbing the development of a wide range of cancers.

Anthocyanin protects the heart

Anthocyanins also have strong antioxidant activity that could positively influence the health of the cardiovascular system.

In this sense, a study revealed that the regular consumption of foods rich in anthocyanins was associated with a notable improvement in the profile of blood fats, with in particular an increase in cholesterol-HDL (the good) and a decrease in cholesterol-LDL ( the bad), even for a short period (three months). Combined with the results of experiments carried out on animal model systems, these observations suggest that anthocyanins exert a cardioprotective effect and that the consumption of foods containing these molecules could actively participate in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Especially since recent data indicate that the absorption of anthocyanins by the body is much greater than initially believed, and that these molecules reach blood concentrations large enough to exert a positive effect.

93,600 women followed

These data are reinforced by the results of a large-scale study of 93,600 American and English women who were aged 25 to

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42 years old in 1989. For 18 years, researchers collected information on their diet, in particular the frequency with which the women consumed strawberries and blueberries, the two main sources of anthocyanins. By analyzing the incidence of myocardial infarction in this population, they observed that women who regularly ate strawberries and blueberries (three servings or more per week) had a 33% reduction in the risk of infarction compared to those who only ate it once a month or less.

This protective effect seems specific to strawberries and blueberries, since no protection could be observed in women who had a diet rich in fruits and vegetables other than berries. These observations are very interesting, as they indicate that the inclusion of strawberries and blueberries in the daily diet at a young age helps prevent the onset of potentially fatal cardiovascular events decades later.

Summer is the ideal season to take full advantage of the health properties of berries, but it is possible to prolong the pleasure by freezing them for future use. Plain, in mousse or in the form of jams, these fruits are one of the best examples that eating well can really be synonymous with health.


Czank C et al. Human metabolism and elimination of the anthocyanin, cyanidin-3-glucoside: a 13C-tracer study. Am J Clin Nutr; 97: 995-1003.

Cassidy A et al. High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. Traffic; 127: 188-196

* The information and services available on in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. []

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