By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Strawberries pack a high concentration of vitamin C and anthocyanins, compounds with potent antioxidant properties. A new study from Italy provides a good glimpse at how potent they are. In the study, a daily serving of strawberries over a one-month period significantly lowered signs of damage in the body to lipids, proteins, and DNA from oxidative (free radical) stress.
Specifically, as a result of daily strawberry consumption, the researchers documented reductions in common chemical markers of oxidative damage associated with arterial plaque and diabetes, as well as cancer, asthma, and lung-scarring disorders. They also found a substantial increase of vitamin C in the blood, a decrease of activated platelets, and a solid reduction of triglycerides, all welcome results.
This study was conducted with healthy volunteers, leading the researchers to conclude that strawberries should also be put to the test on a population with higher cardiovascular disease risk.
My Viewpoint: The berry family is blessed. Among fruits and vegetables they are up on the top rung of antioxidant power. Blueberries have gotten the most attention, but this new study shows strawberries are power hitters as well.
What This Means to You: When researchers test how different foods, medications, or supplements affect disease, they often use certain biochemicals in the blood and urine that serve as evidence for whether a particular factor is effective or not. Here, they found that strawberries significantly reduced indicators of free radical activity involved in tissue damage and inflammation. A reduction of activated platelets is also welcome since inappropriate activation of platelets – clotting factors in the blood – are present in arterial disease and diabetes.
My Recommendation: Eat lots of all the berries…blue, black, and straw…but try for organic as much as possible. Conventionally-grown berries have some of the very highest residue levels of produce pesticides. Put them on some coarse Irish oatmeal (good fiber) or in a morning smoothie and blend with raw nuts.
- Alvarez-Suarez M, et al. One-month strawberry-rich anthocyanin supplementation ameliorates cardiovascular risk, oxidative stress markers and platelet activation in humans. J Nutr Biochem. Dec 2013. Published online at http://www.jnutbio.com/article/S0955-2863%2813%2900249-0/abstract
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