Can anthocyanins help support our heart health as we get older?

Can anthocyanins help support our heart health as we get older?

Can anthocyanins help support our heart health as we get older? 

Written by Dr Evie Kemp. Co-founder of Haskapa.

Latest statistics from the British Heart Foundation show there are 7.4 million people living in the UK with heart and circulatory diseases. These diseases, for example heart attacks, cause 27 per cent of all deaths in the UK; that's nearly 170,000 people each year – or an average of one death every three minutes.

As a doctor I’m passionate about helping patients change their lifestyle to prevent, treat and even sometimes reverse these heart and circulatory diseases. For example, helping people to increase their physical activity, manage their stress, stop smoking and eat a healthier diet.   

What about berries and heart health?

There is growing research evidence to suggest a diet containing berries may help us reduce the risk of developing chronic cardiac diseases, such as high blood pressure and heart attacks. It is becoming clear that a group of plant chemicals called anthocyanins are the key to understanding these berry health benefits. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant pigments that give fruit and vegetables their deep purple, blue and red colours.

Large population studies have shown that a higher anthocyanin diet was associated with:

  • 32% reduction in the risk of suffering heart attacks in young and middle-aged women
  • 14% reduction in risk of developing non-fatal heart attacks in men
  • 8-12% reduction in the risk of developing high blood pressure

In addition, a major review published in 2017 concluded that eating a diet rich in anthocyanins was associated with a reduced risk of dying from all causes, and specifically from heart and circulatory diseases.

What’s special about haskap berries?

As a result of their abundant vibrant colour with double blue-purple skin and deep crimson flesh, haskap berries contain at least three to four times more anthocyanins than blueberries.

Although there is still no agreed daily intake value for anthocyanins, a recent review paper recommended that we eat 50mg anthocyanins per day for optimal benefit.

So, taking just one to two teaspoons of Haskapa berry powder each day will give you your daily anthocyanin boost. We have lots of lovely suggestions on how to include Haskapa in your diet in our recipe section.

Recent research on the health benefits of blueberries and their anthocyanins. Wilhelmina Kalt,  Aedin Cassidy,  Luke R Howard,  Robert Krikorian,  April J Stull,  Francois Tremblay, Raul Zamora-Ros. Advances in Nutrition, nmz065, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz065 (Published: 22 July 2019) 

Grosso, Agnieszka Micek, Justyna Godos, Andrzej Pajak, Salvatore Sciacca, Fabio Galvano, Edward L. Giovannucci, Dietary Flavonoid and Lignan Intake and Mortality in Prospective Cohort Studies: Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 185, Issue 12, 15 June 2017, Pages 1304–1316, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kww207