“Let me take you down…” begins the Beatle’s “Strawberry Fields Forever.” They probably weren’t singing about cholesterol. But recents studies suggest that maybe they could have.
Three recent studies suggest strawberries may hold potential cardiovascular benefits. The research was discussed in HerbalEGram, a publication of the American Botanical Council.
Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy and the Universities of Salamanca, Granada and Seville in Spain conducted the studies. During one, 23 healthy adults ate about a pound of strawberries per day for a month. According to blood tests, their LDL cholesterol levels fell by about 14 percent and their triglyceride levels fell by about 21 percent. Fifteen days after they stopped popping the berries, all their measurements returned to previous levels. The study was published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
The second study examined the effect of strawberry consumption on 18 subjects over two weeks on the body’s immune response against oxidative hemolysis. The results, which will be published in the August 2014 issue of Food Chemistry, suggest “that a regular consumption of strawberries may enhance body defenses against oxidative challenges.”
“As with all research, these studies’ findings of potential health benefits of strawberries should be interpreted prudently,” writes Hannah Bauman in EHerbalGram. “The relatively small sample sizes, lack of control groups, and the amount of fresh strawberries consumed by the subjects mean that more research must be conducted before anyone claims that strawberries should be marketed or professionally recommended for those at risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Another study that did use control groups revealed promising results strawberries role in cardio health. Researchers at Oklahoma State University and Queen’s University of Belfast in Northern Ireland, studied the effect of different dosages of powdered freeze-dried strawberries in drink form. Results of their placebo-controlled study showed a similarly significant trends toward the reduction of LDLD cholesterol as the Italian and Spanish researchers found using fresh fruit. Their study will be published in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.
The researchers agree that anthocyanins, the flavonoids that give berries their bright color, warrants further study. Research supporting the role of these phytochemicals and their healthy powers is growing.