Berries Burst With Flavor and Benefit Your Heart

February 06, 2015

This month in honor of American Heart Month, every day, we’re calling out the top foods for your heart!

Berries, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries and strawberries, are good for your heart! They are rich in phytonutrients including a variety of flavonoids with many protective functions around the body including the heart and cardiovascular system. Flavonoids act as antioxidants in the body, protecting against oxidation and helping to decrease inflammation. Berries are also rich in vitamin C, which is the most well known antioxidant vitamin!

Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can place our blood vessel walls at great risk of damage. Once damaged, our vessels can undergo a process of plaque formation, and the risk of atherosclerosis (blood vessel wall thickening and blood vessel blocking) can be greatly increased. Cranberry and its juice specifically, have been shown to prevent the triggering of two inflammatory enzymes that are pivotal in the atherosclerosis process. The anti-inflammatory benefits of cranberry appear to be critical components in the cardiovascular protection offered by this amazing fruit.

Low blood sugar impact! Berries in general are considered low in terms of their glycemic index (GI), or potential impact on our blood sugar. Keeping blood sugar in check is another way to keep inflammation at bay and keep our heart and vessels healthy.

Fiber. Berries are rich in soluble fiber. Fiber is excellent for its ability to keep us regular and sweep unwanted cholesterol out of our system, maintaining healthy levels and a happy heart.

Oregon State University