Strawberries: A Standout Superfruit
Berries—colorful, delicious and a sure sign of summer, have been making the news for another reason: their health benefits. That includes strawberries, long the stuff of shortcake and ice cream cones. Studies show that strawberries are a true superfruit: they can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower bad cholesterol levels, and slow down oxidative damage throughout the body. And they’re among the top 50 healthiest foods we eat. Strawberries for Heart Health What makes strawberries such mighty morsels? They are rich in bioactive antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanins, which also lend the berry its red color. It’s this high level of antioxidants in strawberries that packs a heart-healthy, fat-busting punch.
An 18-year study of nearly 94,000 young and middle-aged women resulted in a clear cause-and-effect link between eating strawberries, among other fruits and the reduced risk of heart attack. Women who regularly ate strawberries and blueberries over the course of the study were found to have a 32% lower risk of heart attack. The study’s researchers concluded that anthocynanins may also help widen arteries, which counters the buildup of plaque. When blood flow to the heart is impeded by the presence of plaque, heart attacks can occur. The researchers also suggested that although the study’s subjects were all women, a diet rich in strawberries would have the same benefits for men.
Sweet Range of Benefits Other studies have focused on the power of berries, including strawberries, to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes. Eating strawberries as well as other red fruits can help bolster the body’s glucose response, a key factor in preventing disease. And the polyphenol antioxidants in strawberries and other red fruits have also been linked to helping to protect the body against a range of chronic diseases, including neurodegeneration and cancer. The effects of aging on the body, including cognitive degeneration, may also be countered by a diet rich in these amazing fruits.