Berries and Lipids in Cardiovascular Health
Blood lipids are an important biomarker of cardiovascular health and disease. Among the lipid biomarkers that have been widely used to monitor and predict cardiovascular diseases (CVD), elevated LDL- and low HDL-cholesterol (C), as well as elevated triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, deserve special attention in their predictive abilities and thus have been the targets of several therapeutic and dietary approaches in improving lipid profiles. Among natural foods and nutraceuticals, dietary berries are a rich source of nutrients, fiber and various types of phytochemicals. Berries, as whole fruits, juices and purified extracts, have been shown to lower total and LDL-C and increase HDL-C in clinical studies in participants with elevated blood lipids, type 2 diabetes or the metabolic syndrome. This chapter aims to further discuss the mechanisms and magnitude of the lipid-lowering effects of dietary berries with an emphasis on reported clinical studies. Based on the emerging evidence, colorful berry fruits may thus be included in a healthy diet for the prevention and management of CVD.