Juicy News: Strawberries Can Be Good for Your Heart

Juicy News: Strawberries Can Be Good for Your Heart: Main Image
Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels all dropped in people eating strawberries

Getting antioxidants into your diet can be a delicious endeavor. A preliminary study found that eating strawberries every day reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels and boosted antioxidant activity in healthy people—signs suggesting that strawberries may help protect against heart disease, the most common complication of diabetes.

Supplementing with strawberries

The study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, included 23 healthy people from 24 to 30 years old, who were instructed to eat a modified diet for 10 days that was also strawberry-free. Following the initial 10 day period, the participants then added to the modified diet 500 grams (one pound or 3 to 4 cups) of strawberries per day for 30 days. Finally, they were instructed to eat their usual diet, without strawberries, for the last 15 days of the trial.

Strawberry eating boosts antioxidants

Blood and urine tests were done after the first 10 days (baseline), after the 30 strawberry-eating days, and after the last 15 days to measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels and check markers of antioxidant activity. These test results showed the following:

  • Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels all dropped during the strawberry-eating phase.
  • Vitamin C levels increased and other markers of antioxidant status improved during the strawberry-eating phase.
  • All of these levels returned to baseline values after the final, 15-day (usual diet) eating phase, with one exception: a test measuring red blood cells’ resistance to oxidative damage remained improved, suggesting a long-term benefit from eating strawberries.

“The findings presented here are interesting, because they may partly explain the protective role of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables in preventing cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases mediated by oxidative stress,” the researchers said.

Getting more "C"

Eating eight to ten servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day can help to ensure your body has plenty of heart-protective antioxidants, including vitamin C. While strawberries are a smart choice, other vegetables and fruits, such as red, yellow, and green peppers; Brassica family vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale; citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits; kiwis; and tomatoes are also good sources of vitamin C and other antioxidants.

(J Nutr Biochem 2014;25:289–94)

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