Strawberries. Blueberries. Anthocyanins are responsible for the red & blue color of these fruits. In a prospective observational study published in Circulation this month , the authors concluded that those young women who consumed the most berries had a 32% lower risk of heart attacks compared to those who consumed the least. The authors arrived at their conclusion by following 93,600 women avg 36yo for upwards of 18yrs while assessing food consumption via validated dietary questionnaires every 4yrs. Those who consumed 3 or more servings/wk of these anthocyanin-rich berries had a lower risk of heart attacks regardless of smoking status, body mass index, and even fruit & vegetable intake. Is that too much to ask to prevent heart disease in a younger population?
Sure we haven't proven that eating berries actually prevents coronary events. All we've managed is to show an association. Yet, we have no evidence of any harm from regularly consuming berries although locavores might argue that the carbon footprint required to ship fruits from the Southern Hemisphere to our climes is too much of a toll on our environment. So until we have evidence to the contrary, I would posit that the potential heart disease benefit in young women from consuming anthocyanin-rich berries outweighs the lack of benefit. Time will tell . . .