With the strawberry season just around the corner, there’s no better time to appreciate all the exceptional health benefits of this remarkable fruit. As a mighty guardian against a host of chronic disease, strawberries are a delicious way to fortify the body. Researchers agree: organic strawberries may be common in widespread availability, but are far from ordinary in their valuable properties.
A flavorful protector
For those who would like to defend against cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammation and diabetes, strawberries are an excellent choice. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry discovered strawberry extract decreased proliferation of both colon (HT29) and breast (MCF-7) cancer cells. Inhibition of HT29 cells was 53 percent while MCF-7 cells averaged 43 percent. Researchers believe abundant phytonutrients, ellagic acid and ellagitannins present in the fruit are responsible for the findings. Organic strawberries had higher anti-carcinogenic characteristics than conventional varieties.
Cardiovascular disease is also kept in check by regular consumption of strawberries. Due to potent antioxidants within the fruit, elevated blood pressure, hyperglycemia, circulating adhesion molecules and inflammation were lowered in test subjects when 50g of freeze-dried strawberries were ingested daily during an 8 week randomized controlled trial, according to documentation in Nutrition Research. Additionally, scientists at the University of Warwick in the U.K. found that strawberries not only deterred heart disease but also the vascular complications of diabetes.
"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," said lead researcher Paul Thornalley.
The team attributes the beneficial outcome to the activation of Nrf2, a protein that increases antioxidant activity within the body.
Furthermore, strawberries help to balance blood glucose levels. As stated by the George Mateijan Foundation:
"One of the more recent areas of health benefit to be documented in strawberry research is the area of blood sugar benefits. Several recent studies have found regular intake of strawberries to be associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. . . . In these studies, significant benefits do not emerge until frequency of intake reaches at least 2-3 strawberry servings per week."
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