Strawberries Aid Brain and Heart Health

We’re always looking for new ways to improve our health through diet. And we’re fans of eating more fruit. Fruit is nature’s candy. It’s sweet and tasty. But the fiber in it stops the natural sugar from impacting blood sugar.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that eating strawberries daily was linked to better cognition, lower blood pressure and higher levels of antioxidants. People in the study ate either a control powder or 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder — the equivalent of two servings of fruit — each day for eight weeks.

After eating the strawberry powder for eight weeks, cognition speed increased by 5.2 percent, systolic blood pressure decreased by 3.6 percent and the level of antioxidants increased by 10.2 percent. In both the control group and the group eating strawberry powder, waist circumference decreased by 1.1 percent. But people in the control group saw increases in triglycerides.

This study demonstrates that consuming strawberries may promote cognitive function and improve cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension,” said Shirin Hooshmand, professor at San Diego State Univ. and principal investigator on the study. “We’re encouraged that a simple dietary change, like adding strawberries to the daily diet, may improve these outcomes in older adults.”

Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, said, “The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study showed that a diet low in fruit is among the top three risk factors for cardiovascular disease and [blood sugar concerns]. To address the ‘fruit gap’ we need to increase the amount of total fruit consumed as well as the diversity of fruit in the diet. Accumulating evidence in cardiometabolic health suggests that as little as one cup of strawberries per day may show beneficial effects.”

Another study with obese people found that eating two and a half cups of strawberries a day significantly improved insulin resistance and aided HDL cholesterol levels. “Our study supports the hypothesis that strawberry consumption can improve cardiometabolic risks,” said lead investigator Dr. Arpita Basu of the Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, “Furthermore, we believe this evidence supports the role of strawberries in a ‘food as medicine’ approach for the prevention of [blood sugar concerns] and cardiovascular disease in adults.”

When you consider both of these studies together, it’s hard to find a reason not to eat more strawberries! Strawberries are a low GI fruit with a score of 41. They shouldn’t spike your blood sugar. However, if that has been a problem for you in the past, be sure to pair them with foods high in protein and fiber. Strawberries are one of the country’s most common and delicious fruits, and enjoying them can aid your health.

Banner image: Inha Pauliuchenka via Unsplash

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