Benefits of Strwberries

The potential health benefits associated with dietary intake of fruits have attracted increasing interest. Among berries, the strawberry is a rich source of several nutritive and non-nutritive bioactive compounds, which are implicated in various health-promoting and disease preventive effects. A plethora of studies have examined the benefits of strawberry consumption, such as prevention of inflammation disorders and oxidative stress, reduction of obesity related disorders and heart disease risk, and protection against various types of cancer. This review provides an overview of their nutritional and non-nutritional bioactive compounds and which factors affect their content in strawberries. In addition, the bioavailability and metabolism of major strawberry phytochemicals as well as their actions in combating many pathologies, including cancer, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, neurodegeneration, along with microbial pathogenesis have been reviewed, with a particular attention to human studies.

 

Presented in early April at the 2016 Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, CA, new research detailed the good news about strawberries, revealing:

Strawberries may help improve vascular health in at-risk adolescents
This is the first study to test the impact of freeze-dried strawberry powder (FDSP) on markers of vascular health in at-risk adolescents. Previous research in adults found a promising inverse relationship between FDSP consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In a randomized, double-blind, crossover study, 25 overweight or obese males between ages 14-18 consumed 50 grams of FDSP or a calorically equivalent amount of control powder every day for a week. Before and after each test period, measures of vascular health were collected at baseline and one hour after FDSP intake.

Researchers discovered significant improvements in inflammation and vascular function. Plasma nitrite/nitrate levels spiked on the first study day, just one hour after consuming FDSP, and again after one week of intake, indicating an immediate anti-inflammatory effect (this response was not observed with the control powder). They also found an acute increase in the Framingham reactive hyperemia index after one week of FDSP consumption, which indicates improved vascular function.

The results support the premise that strawberries can promote vascular health and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in overweight and obese adolescent males.

Authors: Roberta R. Holt, Dragana Djurica, Jingyan Ren, Robert M. Hackman, and Carl L. Keen, University of California, Davis.
Poster Title: Effects of a Dietary Strawberry Powder on Parameters of Vascular Health in Adolescent Males

 

  • Strawberry Flavonoids May Reduce Inflammation in Obese Adults
    Berry flavonoids have demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in experimental models, but there haven't been many robust studies in humans. In this 12-week, randomized, dose-response controlled trial, researchers examined the effects of strawberry flavonoids on inflammatory biomarkers in adults.

Sixty adult volunteers with abdominal obesity and elevated serum lipids were assigned to drink a low-dose freeze-dried strawberry beverage (FDS), a low-dose control, a high-dose FDS beverage, or a high-dose control for 12 weeks. Control beverages were matched for calories and fiber. Inflammatory biomarkers were tested at baseline and 12 weeks.

After drinking the FDS beverage for 12 weeks, subjects had significantly improved blood nitrite levels compared to the low-dose and control groups. "Typically, obesity and elevated blood lipids have been shown to increase levels of nitrite associated with inflammation, and thus a decrease in nitrite is an anti-inflammatory benefit of strawberries," explains lead author Arpita Basu, PhD, RD/LD.

Consuming strawberries may help lower certain inflammatory biomarkers, which reduce the risk of chronic disease in obese adults.

Authors: Arpita Basu, Stacy Morris, Nancy M Betts, Angel Nguyen, Dongxu Fu, Timothy J Lyons
Poster Title: Effects of dietary strawberries on inflammatory biomarkers in participants with abdominal obesity and dyslipidemia

 

  • Dietary Strawberry Improves Cognition in Older Adults
    In one of the first clinical studies designed to determine whether dietary strawberry intake could reverse age-related motor and cognitive decline among healthy older adults, USDA researchers have demonstrated that supplementing older adults' diets with about two cups per day of strawberries can improve cognition even in the absence of neurological dysfunction.

The research was conducted at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and first presented at the 2015 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Chicago.

Thirty-seven healthy men and women, age 60-75, consumed either the equivalent of about two cups per day of fresh strawberries in the form of a freeze-dried powder, or an equal amount of a calorie matched control powder containing no strawberries, for 90 days. The participants maintained their normal diet, other than refraining from consuming any berries or berry products during the study. Mobility and cognitive testing was done at day 0, 45 and 90 of the study. 

Dietary intervention with strawberry for 90 days led to improvements in spatial memory and word recognition among healthy older adults. .

Overall the study results suggest that dietary intervention with strawberry fruit may be an effective means of combating age-related cognitive decline.

Authors:  Marshall G. Miller, Nopporn Thangthaeng, Tammy M. Scott, Barbara Shukitt-Hale
Poster Title: Dietary Strawberry Improves Cognition in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

While strawberries are one of America's favorite fruits, many consumers are not aware of the incredible health benefits.  Providing a unique combination of essential nutrients, dietary fiber and phytochemicals, a serving of eight medium strawberries a day provides more vitamin C per serving than an orange (and 140% of the daily value), a good source of fiber (3 grams), folate and potassium (along with a variety of health-promoting antioxidants) and just 7 grams of sugar.  Clinical research suggests that eating a serving of eight medium strawberries a day may improve heart health, help manage diabetes, support brain health, and reduce the risk of some cancers.

By adding just eight strawberries a day into a daily diet, consumers can reap the incredible health benefits of strawberries. Below are four unique ways to use strawberries on toast, created by Jenna Braddock, R.D.  These two sweet and two savory options can be enjoyed any time of the day and are all quick to prepare, full of flavor, and packed with great nutrition to fuel your body. 

 

 

The health benefits of strawberry include improved eye care, proper brain function, relief from high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, and various cardiovascular diseases. The polyphenolic and antioxidant content of strawberries makes them good for improving the immune system, preventing various types of cancers and for reducing the signs of premature aging.

Table of Contents

What is Strawberry?

Strawberries have a common scientific name of Fragaria, and there are different suffixes for different varieties, such as Fragaria vesca for wild strawberry, and Fragaria orientalis for strawberries found in Siberia, among others. Strawberries grow in bushes and are delicious seasonal fruits that also boost your health. Strawberries are often associated with a European fruit; however, they are popular throughout the world.

Strawberries are often eaten raw directly or by adding them to fruit salads, custards, and various other recipes. They are also extensively used in processed food items, including ice creams, jams, jellies, squashes, syrups, confections, baked goods, chocolates, and even in medicines due to their extraordinarily rich flavor, taste, and color. But nothing beats fresh strawberries plucked from the bush and eaten raw!

Nutritional Value of Strawberry

We know that fruits, particularly berries and those with exotic colors are rich in antioxidants, which means that they are huge boosters of your health. Strawberries are no exception to this rule; in addition to antioxidants and polyphenols, they have many other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to the overall health benefits of these berries. These nutrients include vitamin C, folate, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, and magnesium.

 

Health Benefits of Strawberry

Let’s explore a bit more about these potential health benefits of strawberries in detail below.

Eye Care

The primary reason for almost all problems related to the eye is the presence of free radicals caused due to deficiency of certain nutrients. With increased age and a lack of these protective nutrients, free radicals can cause heavy damage to the eyes. One may witness dry eyes, degeneration of the optic nerves, macular degeneration, vision defects, and increased susceptibility to infections.

Antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolic phytochemicals, and ellagic acid, all of which are present in strawberries, can help avoid these situations to a large extent. One more condition strawberries can fix is the disturbance in ocular pressure, the pressure within the eyes. Any disturbance in this pressure can be harmful to the eyes. Strawberries are helpful because they contain potassium, which helps in maintaining the correct pressure.

Boosts Immunity

The immune system is our body’s first line of defense against infections, microbial action, and a variety of other potentially dangerous conditions. Vitamin C present in strawberry boosts the immune system and helps in curing common cough and cold. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means that it neutralizes free radicals, the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism that are constantly created in our body. These free radicals are responsible for mutating the DNA of healthy cells into cancerous cells and are subsequently responsible for a number of diseases, including heart disease and various cancers. A single serving of strawberries has approximately 150% of your daily requirement of vitamin C, isn’t that incredible!

Treats Arthritis and Gout

Degeneration of muscles and tissues, drying up of the fluid which helps increased mobility of the joints, and accumulation of toxic substances and acids (such as uric acid) in the body are some of the ill effects of free radicals. These are the primary causes of arthritis and gout. As mentioned earlier, strawberries are abundant in antioxidants and detoxifiers, which help in treating these conditions.

It is said that a serving of fruits every day will remove the “rust” from joints. This old adage is definitely true for strawberries since it has powerful anti-inflammatory ability to ease inflammation and associated pain from these types of conditions.

Prevents Cancer

Vitamin C, folate, anthocyanins, quercetin, and kaempferol are just a few of the many flavonoids in strawberries which possess excellent antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. Together, they form an excellent line of defense to fight cancer and tumor growth. Daily intake of strawberries is connected to a drastic reduction in the presence and metastasis of cancer cells.

Boosts Brain Function

Unfortunately, it is very common for old people to begin losing their memory and control over certain activities, muscles, and limbs. This is due to either the natural or premature aging of their brain and nervous system. Actually, free radicals are the agents responsible for signs of aging because they have an adverse effect on both of these systems. Due to the activity of free radicals, the brain tissues start degenerating and the nerves become weaker. Luckily, strawberries can help you avoid these untimely conditions in life.

Vitamin C and phytochemicals in strawberries neutralize the effects of these oxidants and rejuvenate the system. Furthermore, strawberries are rich in iodine as well, which is very helpful for regulating the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Potassium, which is found in significant quantities in strawberries, also has been linked to an improved cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain. Research on students has shown that when high levels of potassium are consumed, memory and recall abilities seem to be strengthened in test-taking. There is a good reason why bananas and strawberries are considered “brain food”!

 

Reduces Hypertension

Strawberries are rich in potassium and magnesium content, both of which are effective in lowering high blood pressure caused by sodium and various other risk factors. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it reduces hypertension and the rigidity of arteries and blood vessels; thereby, it lowers blood pressure, eases the flow of blood to various parts of the body, and keeps them functioning at their full potential.

Improves Heart Function

High fiber content, folate, no fats, and high levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C and phytochemicals form an ideal cardiac health pack, as they effectively reduce cholesterol in the arteries and vessels. Some members of the vitamin B family present in strawberries also strengthen the cardiac muscles and lead to better functioning of the heart.

Weight Loss

Strawberries promote weight loss due to the presence of various nutrients that help stimulate metabolism and reduce appetite.

Prevents Birth Defects

Folic acid is a necessary nutrient, especially during pregnancy. Strawberries are a good source of folic acid and help in preventing birth defects.

Reduces Inflammation

Strawberries are rich in antioxidant properties and help to reduce inflammation.

Perhaps most importantly, strawberries and all of the associated foods that contain strawberries are delicious as well. Next time you are looking for something sweet, bite into some juicy strawberries and enjoy the benefits they have in store for you!

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