Strawberries Improve Cardiovascular and Cognitive Health, Study Suggests

Research reveals that eating strawberries are tied to several health advantages, including higher cognitive function, reduced blood pressure, and greater antioxidant capacity.

Thirty-five healthy people who eat the equivalent of two servings of strawberries daily participated in the trial. The researchers discovered that consumption of strawberries significantly boosted antioxidant capacity, dramatically lowered blood pressure, and improved cognitive processing speed.

In a randomized clinical study presented at NUTRITION 2023, the annual conference of the American Society of Nutrition (ASN), strawberries were associated with better cognitive function, lower blood pressure, and more antioxidant capacity when consumed daily.

The 35 healthy men and women who participated in the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial ranged in age from 66 to 78. Each participant took in either a control powder or 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder for eight weeks, equal to two servings of strawberries each day.

Consuming strawberries boosted cognitive processing speed by 5.2%, systolic blood pressure by 3.6%, and total antioxidant capacity by 10.2%. Throughout the trial's control and intervention, waist circumference also shrank by 1.1%. The subjects' serum triglycerides rose while taking the control powder.

This study demonstrates that consuming strawberries may promote cognitive function and improve cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension.

- Shirin Hooshmand, Principal Investigator

She continues that they find it encouraging that older individuals may benefit from a straightforward dietary modification, such as including strawberries in their regular diet.

There are several bioactive substances found in strawberries. Strawberries have heart-healthy elements, including folate, potassium, fiber, phytosterols, and polyphenols, in addition to supplying 100% of our daily needs for vitamin C.

The research at San Diego State University expands on earlier studies that showed strawberries to be beneficial for cardiovascular, metabolic, and mental health. Previous clinical studies have linked strawberry consumption to benefits in some cardiovascular disease risk factors, including lowered blood pressure and total and LDL cholesterol (TC).

The relationship between strawberry intake and brain health has also been thoroughly investigated in clinical and population-based investigations. In research done at Rush University in 2022, strawberries and pelargonidin, a biochemical mainly present in strawberries, were linked to a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease.

"We suspect the anti-inflammatory properties of pelargonidin may decrease overall neuroinflammation, which may reduce cytokine production," says study author Julie Schneider.

The study concludes that daily consumption of 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder moderately increases cognitive processing speed, reduces systolic blood pressure, and boosts total antioxidant capacity, potentially promoting cognitive function and reducing cardiovascular risk factors.

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