Eating strawberries may help improve heart health in several ways, according to research presented at the recent 9th Biennial Berry Health Benefits Symposium (BHBS).
A study presented at BHBS found that strawberries improved vascular function just one hour after consumption. published Journal of NutritionThe study was conducted by researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology on a group of 34 men and women who had moderate hypercholesterolemia – meaning they had very high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol.
Study participants were divided equally into two groups: one who consumed a drink with freeze-dried strawberry powder twice daily and the other who consumed a control drink. Although the researchers noted that the study was limited, their results suggest that consistent strawberry consumption may improve endothelial function and blood pressure in people with high cholesterol.
Findings like these can help educate consumers about the importance of eating fresh fruits like strawberries to promote optimal heart health and reduce the risk of diet-related illness.
According to Brit Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., professor at Illinois Institute of Technology and BHBS, “The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study found that diets low in fruit are the top three risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” In a statement, the chair of the Heart and Healthy Aging session.
“To address the ‘fruit gap’ we need to increase the variety of fruit in our diet as well as the total amount of fruit consumed,” Burton-Freeman said. “Accumulating evidence in cardiometabolic health suggests that one cup of strawberries per day may show beneficial effects.”
Other Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries may also play a role in improving insulin resistance, an important factor in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, according to another study cited in BHBS.
Published in scientific journals nutrients This 14-week randomized controlled crossover study was conducted by researchers from multiple universities interested in studying the effect of strawberry consumption on lipid profiles and elevated serum LDL cholesterol levels in 33 obese adults.
The researchers used “dietary achievable doses of strawberries” to make their findings easier to implement. At a daily dose of 2.5 servings of strawberries (given in powdered form), researchers found improvements in insulin resistance and moderate improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particle size, which has public health implications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. .
“Our research supports the hypothesis that strawberry consumption may improve cardiometabolic risk,” Arpita Basu, PhD, RDN, associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said in a statement.
“Furthermore, we believe this evidence supports the role of strawberries in a ‘food as medicine’ approach to preventing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adults,” Basu said.
Although researchers did not report any conflicts in the study cited during the BHBS, the study was supported by the California Strawberry Commission, a 300-member group of growers, shippers and processors who work together to advance strawberry farming.
Diet and heart health
Strawberries aren’t the only plant-based foods with bioactive compounds that can improve heart health. A growing body of research supports that soybeans have cholesterol-lowering and lipid-regulating effects.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign looked at specific soybean proteins—glycinin and b-conglycinin—to better understand their role in cholesterol metabolism.
Their findings confirmed that these proteins have the potential to lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of metabolic diseases such as atherosclerosis – which leads to heart disease and fatty liver disease.
Beyond specific foods, a plant-rich diet in general is also associated with improved heart health. A 2021 study was published Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that diets focused on nutrient-dense plant foods helped young adults maintain a healthy heart, reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease by 52 percent.
An interesting finding in this 32-year study was that participants who switched to a plant-based diet later in life gained heart-protective benefits regardless of the quality of their original diet.
In contrast, eating one serving of red meat can significantly increase the risk of heart disease. A comprehensive study published in the Medical Journal last year Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular biology It has been found that eating and digesting red meat results in certain gut bacteria metabolism that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 22 percent.