Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation with Berries

The global burden of disease study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of the causes of death undertaken ever involving nearly 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries starting out with almost a hundred thousand data sources what did they find here in the u.s. they determined our number one killer was our diet number one on their list of the most important dietary risks not eating enough fruit responsible for millions of deaths a year around the world the Union of Concerned Scientists laid it out a set of dangers often lethal illnesses continue to wreak havoc in the United States hundreds of thousands of Americans laid to waste yet there’s a straightforward way to reduce the rates of these eminently preventable disorders including stroke and heart disease one antidote for individuals is easy painless even pleasurable exploit the protective benefits of fruits and vegetables if Americans increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables just to meet the dietary recommendations that alone could save the lives of over a hundred thousand people every year in the United States that’s if we just reach the minimum but how well one way maybe because of their antiplatelet effects platelets are what triggers the blood clots that cause heart attacks and most strokes but beyond their obvious function in blood clotting platelets are now considered to play a pivotal inflammatory role in the hardening of our arteries in the first place as well as allergies rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer now it’s important to realize that normally under healthy conditions platelets circulate in a quiescent dormant inactive state but once they become activated they can emerge as culprits in inflammation platelets transport a vast amount of inflammatory chemicals upon activation they release these chemicals which can recruit the inflammatory cells that form the the pus pockets within our arterial walls that can burst and kill us this involvement of platelet activation in atherosclerosis development is well-established we’ve long recognized the platelets role in the final stages however growing body of data indicates that platelets may also play an important role in the initiation and propagation of atherosclerosis in the first place which is our nation’s leading killer so how can we prevent the excessive activation of platelets well it’s generally recognized that platelet hyper reactivity is associated with high levels of cholesterol circulating in our blood so we can cut down on foods that have trans fats saturated fats and dietary cholesterol and we can eat more fruits and vegetables for example different varieties of strawberries if you want a significant antiplatelet effect in a petri dish and in people here’s how they figured it out this is a platelet in a resting state packed with little round granule grenades of inflammatory chemicals which fuse together when the platelet gets activated and the delivery system dilates before it releases its payload because resting and activated platelets look so different you can just take blood from people and count how many are resting and how many are activated before and after people eat more than a pint of strawberries every day for a month and there’s a small but significant drop in the percentage of activated platelets circulating throughout their bodies after the strawberries other berries have a similar effect and at a more modest two servings a day drinking orange or grapefruit juice did not seem to help but purple grape juice did successfully reduce platelet activity on the same order that aspirin does studies have shown a daily aspirin can reduce heart attacks and strokes however spring can also cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances and bleeding problems so should not be used for primary prevention of heart attacks and stroke as the benefits don’t clearly outweigh the serious risks so it’s nice to have a safe side-effect free alternative you