Heart disease: The berry that can protect blood vessels from damage due to antioxidants

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease

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There are certain health conditions that can put you at greater risk of experiencing this build-up, which is also known as atherosclerosis. These include having high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. But, like these conditions, atherosclerosis is also linked to a number of lifestyle factors such as eating unhealthy foods, not doing enough exercise and drinking too much alcohol.

Therefore, making conscious choices about what you eat can reduce your risk of heart disease.

According to health researcher for vegan charity Viva Health, Veronika Prošek Charvátová, there is one certain fruit that could be more heart healthy than others.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, she recommended incorporating acai berries into your diet.

She said: “Acai is recognised as a food with one of the highest antioxidant content, more than twice that of blueberries and nearly 10 times more than grapes.

“Antioxidant-rich foods are beneficial for your heart health and circulation because they protect blood vessels from damage – but they also prevent cholesterol in your blood from oxidation.

“It is only when cholesterol is oxidised that it becomes sticky, enabling it to build up in your arteries, creating damaging plaques.”

Acai is a reddish-purple berry, native to Central and South America, that can be consumed as the fruit or a juice.

But Veronika warned: “There are, however, no magical cures – it is a healthy diet with plenty of fresh foods that matters most and a bit of acai can’t cancel out a poor diet.”

She added: “Sugary drinks, cakes, chocolate and biscuits all help pile on the pounds and being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart disease too.

“Switch to water and healthier snacks such as fruit, dried fruit, small handfuls of nuts (rich in healthier fats) and dark chocolate – a small piece goes a long way.”

The main symptoms of coronary heart disease are:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain throughout the body
  • Feeling faint
  • Feeling sick (nausea).

If you experience these symptoms you should seek medical advice.

To reduce your risk of the disease the NHS recommends:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Being physically active
  • Giving up smoking
  • Controlling blood cholesterol and sugar levels.

The health service says: “Keeping your heart healthy will also have other health benefits, such as helping reduce your risk of stroke and dementia.”

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