Strawberries are one of the most accessible and popular fruits in the United States. They are rich in vitamin C and a variety of other nutrients and beneficial bioactive compounds. Recently, two studies presented at the 9th Biennial Berry Health Benefits Symposium (BHBS) in Tampa, Florida have shown that these fruits may also promote heart health and generally improve cardiometabolic health.
“The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study showed that a diet low in fruit is among the top three risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. To address the “fruit gap” we need to increase the amount of total fruit consumed as well as the diversity of fruit in the diet. Accumulating evidence in cardiometabolic health suggests that as little as one cup of strawberries per day may show beneficial effects,” said Britt Burton-Freeman, an expert in Healthy Aging at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
According to the scientists, there are many cardiometabolic benefits of strawberries, including decreased total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the so-called “bad cholesterol”), decreased oxidative stress and inflammation, decreased insulin resistance, decreased blood sugar, and increased vascular relaxation and tone.
For instance, one randomized controlled crossover trial of 33 obese adults has found that daily consumption of two-and-a-half cups of strawberries significantly improved insulin resistance and moderately improved high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. “Our study supports the hypothesis that strawberry consumption can improve cardiometabolic risks,” explained lead investigator Arpita Basu, an associate professor of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Furthermore, we believe this evidence supports the role of strawberries in a ‘food as medicine’ approach for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adults.”
In another study, 34 adult men and women with moderate hypercholesterolemia were found to have improved vascular function one hour after strawberry intake, as indicated by flow-mediated dilation.
These findings highlight the multiple benefits of strawberries and open new paths for the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic disorders.
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