Berry good news on heart health
High cholesterol? Forget statins!
Just take two blueberries, and call me in the morning -- because new research has revealed the secret to cutting heart risk, especially in folks with high cholesterol. And it's not one of those muscle-melting cholesterol meds
-- it's a powerful nutrient locked inside berries, as well as other dark-colored fruits and vegetables.
They're called anthocyanins, or antioxidants that have been repeatedly linked to better heart health.
According to the new study, taking 320 mg of purified anthocyanins per day for six months can slash the levels of platelet chemokines, or blood chemicals linked to heart and artery risk.
These nutrients cut the levels of five different types of chemokines. And in some cases, the anthocyanin supplements can be 10 TIMES more effective than a placebo!
These blood chemicals are linked to the immune response and inflammation, especially the type of inflammation that causes arteries to harden, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
More specifically, the study finds anthocyanins cut levels of both C-reactive protein and interleukin 1 beta, inflammation markers linked to heart problems, dementia, cancer, and more.
And that's not all.
Anthocyanins can also increase your levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, according to the study.
The study focused on folks with high levels of LDL cholesterol, or people who would likely be given statins.
This is in many ways a much better approach, because LDL alone isn't the heart risk factor it's been made out to be -- and blindly lowering those levels can in some cases do more harm than good.
You need a certain amount of LDL to transport fat-soluble nutrients. It can also help your immune system fight infection, and low LDL has even been linked to cancer.
Starting off with a natural therapy is far more effective, and other studies back this approach. Research published just last year even found that boosting your anthocyanins intake can cut your risk of a heart attack by 14 percent.
The 320 mg per day used in the new study isn't much. It's what you'd find in about 3.5 ounces of blueberries.
Because anthocyanins are deep red and purple pigments, they're easy to spot in other foods. You'll find them in berries, cherries, pomegranates, red and purple grapes and plums as well as eggplant, red cabbage, and red onions.
If you want to get more for your money, go organic. You'll get safer food free of pesticides and herbicides. More importantly, organics also contain 51 percent more anthocyanins as well as higher levels of other key nutrients.