Packed with antioxidants, fiber, and potassium, raspberries and blackberries are among the Cleveland Clinic's list of 40 best foods for heart health. Research suggests they help lower blood pressure, boost good cholesterol, and more!
By Marsha McCulloch, M.S., R.D., L.D.
Raspberries and blackberries have more in common than the space they typically share in supermarkets. Both are caneberries, which grow on woody canes or stems (whereas blueberries, for example, grow on bushes). But more important, they're two of the best--and tastiest--little things you can eat for your heart.
Berries are especially high in:
- other beneficial phytonutrients (plant-base compounds)
"Not only are the antioxidants in berries free-radical scavengers, but they can also turn off the signals that generate free radicals," says Jim Joseph, Ph.D., a research physiologist at Tufts University in Boston. That's important because free radicals oxidize, or damage, LDL (bad) cholesterol, leading to atherosclerosis.
Berries' potential antioxidant benefit is just one of many. In an eight-week study, middle-aged adults who consumed about 3/4 cup of various berries (including raspberries) and a small glass of berry juice daily had (when compared to nonberry eaters):
- significantly reduced blood pressure
- increased HDL (good) cholesterol
- reduced platelet activity (which helps blood flow better)