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The #1 Best Fruit for Your Heart, Say Dietitians

Protect your ticker with a bowl of these delicious berries.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Fruit comes in so many shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors, and while many contain similar nutrients, like vitamin C, certain fruit varieties house nutrients that benefit heart health. When thinking about the foods that can enhance heart and vessel health, you may automatically think of healthy fats, like those in nuts, seeds, and avocado, and limiting your intake of fatty meat. While these dietary approaches can benefit cardiovascular health, berries also provide unique properties that support your heart. Here is why you should eat more berries to improve your heart health.

Why berries are the #1 fruit to protect your heart.

berries
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While all fruit is good fruit, and there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a couple of servings of fruit per day. Berries, in particular, house several nutrients that may be extra beneficial when it comes to your heart.

Antioxidants

Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are just some of the berry varieties packed with antioxidants: nutrients that combat dangerous free radicals in your body and prevent cell damage. In fact, one form of antioxidant, anthocyanins, has been proven to provide an array of health functions in conditions like cardiovascular disorders, inflammatory response, and degenerative diseases. Additionally, anthocyanins have been shown to improve glucose metabolism and dyslipidemia, two risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Soluble fiber

Berries are also a source of soluble fiber which may be able to help lower levels of blood LDL cholesterol (the "bad" type), and, in turn, help lower the risk for heart disease. Overall, fiber found in food, including berries, may also be able to provide more heart health benefits by lowering blood pressure and inflammation in the body. Additional research suggests a lower incidence of coronary heart disease in those who consume a high fiber diet.

Current fiber recommendations are 21-25 grams per day for women, based on age, and 30-38 grams for men. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of raspberries provides about 8 grams of fiber.

How many berries do you need to eat per day to reap the benefits?

With an impressive list of beneficial nutrients, it's no wonder berries are such a popular fruit.

Current research provides varying recommendations for how frequently you should eat berries; however, it is reasonable to consume them daily as part of the 2 cups of fruit per day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for adults.

Add a handful of berries to your smoothie or parfait, top a salad, mash, and enjoy on toast, or simply enjoy a handful for a snack. With no prep required, other than a quick wash, berries are an easy nutrient-packed food to enjoy daily.

Kelsey Hampton, MS, CSSD, RDN, LD
Kelsey is a Texas-based dietitian and professor who specializes in sports nutrition. Read more about Kelsey