Research presented at Berry Health Benefits Symposium adds to growing body of evidence and highlights strawberry’s ‘food as medicine’ potential.
Earlier this year, the latest research on strawberries, including their potential heart health benefits, was presented at the 9th biennial Berry Health Benefits Symposium (BHBS) in Tampa, FL. This research adds to the growing body of scientific evidence supporting the role of strawberry consumption in promoting heart health.
Strawberries and Cardiometabolic Health
According to Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and BHBS Heart and Healthy Aging Session Chair, “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.”
Impacts of Strawberry Consumption
Studies demonstrate that the cardiometabolic benefits of strawberry consumption are multi-faceted and may include decreased total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, increased vascular relaxation and tone, decreased inflammation and oxidative stress, decreased insulin resistance, and decreased blood sugar. Clinical trials have linked strawberries to improvements in various markers for cardiovascular disease, including lipid levels.
Strawberries and Insulin Resistance
In one randomized controlled crossover trial of 33 obese adults, daily consumption of strawberries at a dose of two-and-a-half cups per day significantly improved insulin resistance and moderately improved high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particle size in comparison to the control group.
“Our study supports the hypothesis that strawberry consumption can improve cardiometabolic risks,” said lead investigator, Arpita Basu, Ph.D., R.D.N., associate professor 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.”
Strawberries and Vascular Function
Another study with 34 adult men and women with moderate hypercholesterolemia conducted at the Illinois Institute of Technology found that vascular function, as indicated by flow-mediated dilation, improved one hour after strawberry intake.
Strawberries: A Popular, Nutrient-rich Fruit
As one of the most popular and accessible fruits in the U.S., strawberries are a flavor favorite with consumers. A serving of 8 strawberries (one cup) fulfills the daily recommended value of vitamin C and delivers a host of other nutrients and beneficial bioactive compounds. Available year-round, strawberries offer consumers a versatile and convenient fruit option beloved by kids and adults.
- “Dietary Strawberries Improve Cardiometabolic Risks in Adults with Obesity and Elevated Serum LDL Cholesterol in a Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial by Arpita Basu” by Kenneth Izuora, Nancy M. Betts, Jefferson W. Kinney, Arnold M. Salazar, Jeffrey L. Ebersole and R. Hal Scofield, 23 April 2021, Nutrients.
- “Strawberry Consumption, Cardiometabolic Risk Factors, and Vascular Function: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Adults with Moderate Hypercholesterolemia” by Leailin Huang, Di Xiao, Xuhuiqun Zhang, Amandeep K Sandhu, Preeti Chandra, Colin Kay, Indika Edirisinghe and Britt Burton-Freeman, 23 March 2021, The Journal of Nutrition.