For the present study, 23 healthy participants had to eat 500 grams of strawberries every day for over a month. Blood samples were taken at the start and the end of the study period for comparison.
The results showed a reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by 8.78 percent, 13.72 percent, and 20.8 percent, respectively. HDL cholesterol levels remained unchanged.
Researcher Maurizio Battino said, “This is the first time a study has been published that supports the protective role of the bioactive compounds in strawberries in tackling recognized markers and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.”
Although the exact cholesterol-lowering component in strawberries is unknown, the researchers suspect it is the pigment that gives the fruit its red color.
Heart Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries are abundant in vitamin C, and low in both calories and fat. An excellent source of fiber, strawberries also contain a considerable amount of manganese, iodine, potassium, folic acid, and vitamin K. The unique combination of nutrients found in strawberries yield anti-inflammatory effects in the body and the low-calorie/high-fiber combination makes them an excellent weight loss option.
The nutrients found in strawberries can offer health benefits for the heart. Strawberries rank as the top second fruit packed with antioxidants, which can help fight off free radical damage.
Scientists from Warwick Medical School recently discovered extracts in strawberries that activate a protein called Nrf2, which increases antioxidant activity and yields other protective effects in the body.
Prof. Thornalley of Warwick Medical School explained: “We’ve discovered the science behind how strawberries work to increase our in-built defenses to keep cells, organs, and blood vessels healthy, and which can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and diabetes.”
Strawberries are an extremely heart-healthy food because they are sodium, fat, and cholesterol free. The Nrf2 activation triggered by strawberry components helps to reduce three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and elevated homocysteine levels. Strawberries also help to lower the risk for type 2 diabetes by reducing and regulating blood sugar levels.
As you can see, strawberries can offer many heart health benefits, so you may want to incorporate these delicious fruits into your daily diet.