There's Chuck, Halle, Walter, Ken and Daryl (Berry, Berry, Berry, Berry and Strawberry, that is). And while they all pack superpowers as actors or athletes, they can't compete with the amazing health benefits of actual berries - particularly blueberries and strawberries.
Strawberries and blueberries contain anti-inflammatory nutrients called anthocyanins, a specific type of flavonoid that dilates blood vessels and keeps gunky plaque from building up on the inside of your arteries. And a study of 96,000 women in their 20s, 30s and 40s found that the risk of heart attack plummets 32 percent from eating those berries three times a week.
That's compared with those who eat the berries only once a month - even if they consume a lot of other veggies and fruits. (Guys, just because you weren't in this study, don't think you won't benefit from eating berries too - dig in.)
To get the benefits:
1. Eat them raw (well-rinsed) and without added sugar. If you put them on 100 percent whole-grain cereal, you've got a major heart-healthy breakfast. (Remember, use nonfat milk or yogurt, or try almond, soy or walnut milk.)
Also enjoy blackberries, black cranberries and raspberries - they, too, pack a wallop of heart-lovin' anthocyanins.
2. Toss them into salads, and mix them up with fresh herbs (mint or basil are great choices).
3. Cooked berries also rock - they don't lose their anti-inflammatory powers, but anthocyanin does degrade by 16 percent to 41 percent. Try a spicy fruit sauce flavored with cayenne pepper, cilantro and diced tomatoes on baked fish or skinless chicken.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.