Strawberries are powerful cholesterol busters according to a recently published study in Nutrition Journal that investigated women with metabolic syndrome, a disorder that affects one in every five people in the U.S. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Features of the syndrome include high blood pressure, high plasma glucose, insulin resistence and abnormal concentration of lipids in the blood.
For this study, women with at least three features of metabolic syndrome were given a daily beverage containing 25 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder. Following the four-week testing period, their total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels dropped an average of five and six percent, respectively, and plasma ellagic acid, a powerful antioxidant, was significantly increased.
Considered to be the most popular berry fruit in the world, the 600-plus varieties of the strawberry are a delicious treat enjoyed by countless people across the globe. And now strawberries are becoming recognized by modern medicine as a “superfruit”.
Loaded with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds, strawberries are among the most nutritionally dense fruits available. Among their many attributes are their potent antioxidant levels and their abundance of flavonoids, polyphenols, phytonutrients, and fiber.
Strawberry phenols have the ability to decrease the activity of the cyclo-oxygenase, or COX enzyme, whose hyperactivity causes inflammation. Many people take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen for pain. These drugs are synthetically designed to be COX-inhibitors, however strawberries contain natural phenols that serve this same purpose without causing intestinal bleeding like the drugs can do.
Among these phenols are anthocyanins, which function as strong antioxidants that protect cell structures from free radical damage. There are also ellagitannins, which have been found in studies to decrease rates of death from cancer.
The unique blend of beneficial compounds contained within strawberries has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells with no specific correlation to antioxidant levels, indicating the idiosyncratic healing composition of strawberries in their whole, complete form.
Strawberries and other fruits rich in VItamin C have been shown to help prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) as well. One such study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology revealed that consuming three or more servings of fruit a day reduces the risk of developing ARMD by more than 36 percent.
Strawberries have also been recognized as a type of “superfruit” because of their high levels of B vitamins, VItamin C, manganese, potassium, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin K, magnesium, copper, folate, and riboflavin. The distinct synergy of these nutrients is what constitutes the strawberry as a powerful healing food that is both delicious and plentiful year round.
It is important to note that only fresh and frozen strawberries contain the myriad of beneficial compounds that contribute to health and wellness, including the lowering of cholesterol. Processed fruit typically loses most, if not all, of the nutritional content that it originally possessed.
When selecting strawberries, be sure to choose organically-grown varieties. Conventional strawberries have been found to be among the worst fruits for pesticide contamination and residue, prompting the Environmental Working Group to suggest that consumers avoid purchasing strawberries and several other fruits and vegetables unless organically-grown or specifically raised without the use of pesticides.
http://www.nutritionj.com/content/8/1/43”>Freeze-dried strawberry powder improves lipid profile and lipid peroxidation in women with metabolic syndrome: baseline and post intervention effects – Nutrition Journal
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=32”>Strawberries – WHFoods
http://www.foodnews.org/”>Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides – Environmental Working Group