Natural Health Tips

Antioxidant and Health-Boosting Properties of Strawberries

Strawberries contain a wealth of cancer-fighting, health-protective nutrients such as Vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber. They are second only to plums as the richest fruit in antioxidants, being especially high in cancer and heart disease-fighting flavonoids, anthocyanins, and other substances.

Two recent studies have highlighting some of the powerful benefits of eating strawberries for boosting health.

Strawberries Boost blood Health

In the first study, a group of volunteers ate half a kilo of strawberries every day for two weeks to demonstrate that eating this fruit improves the antioxidant capacity of blood. The study showed that strawberries boost red blood cells' response to oxidative stress, an imbalance that is associated with various diseases.

Strawberries contain a large amount of phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties. These substances have been found to reduce oxidative stress, an imbalance that occurs in certain diseases or physiological situations (birth, aging, physical exercise), as well as between free radicals - and the body's antioxidant defences.

When the level of oxidation exceeds these antioxidant defences, oxidative stress occurs. Aside from causing certain illnesses, this is also implicated in phenomena such as the speed at which we may age, for example.

For the study, scientists fed 12 healthy volunteers 500 grams of strawberries (of the 'Sveva' variety) daily over the course of the day. They took blood samples from them after four, eight, 12 and 16 days, and also a month later. The results show that regular consumption of this fruit is associated with improving the antioxidant capacity of blood plasma and also the resistance of red blood cells to oxidative haemolysis (fragmentation).

"We have shown that some varieties of strawberries make erythrocytes more resistant to oxidative stress. This could be of great significance if you take into account that this phenomenon can lead to serious diseases," said the lead author of the study.

Strawberries for Better Health

Another recent study suggests that eating strawberries daily is associated with improved health. By targeting multiple organs, an extract in strawberries was found to relieve numerous medical complications.

The report found that fisetin, a naturally-occurring flavonoid found most abundantly in strawberries and to a lesser extent in other fruits and vegetables, lessens complications of diabetes. Previously, the lab showed that fisetin promoted survival of neurons grown in culture and enhanced memory in healthy mice.

"This manuscript describes for the first time a drug that prevents both kidney and brain complications in a type-1 diabetes mouse model," said one of the study?s co-authors. "Moreover, it demonstrates the probable molecular basis of how the therapeutic is working."

Fisetin is a neuroprotective flavonoid which also has anti-inflammatory properties. Previous research has linked it to enhancing long-term memory.

One of the authors concurs that their findings only reinforce what common sense and our mothers told us was a healthy lifestyle: "Eat a balanced diet and as much freshly prepared organic food as possible, get some exercise, keep socially and mentally active and avoid sodas with sugar and highly processed foods."

Research Paper Details:

Tulipani S, Alvarez-Suarez JM, Busco F, et al. Strawberry consumption improves plasma antioxidant status and erythrocyte resistance to oxidative haemolysis in humans. Food Chemistry, 2011; 128 (1): 180.

Maher P, Dargusch R, Ehren JL, et al. Fisetin Lowers Methylglyoxal Dependent protein glycation and Limits the Complications of diabetes. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (6): e21226.