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Strawberries may stave off heart disease, diabetes

Staff writer |
Two new studies presented at the Experimental Biology 2015 conference in Boston offered new evidence that eating just 3 to 4 servings of strawberries a day can reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

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These studies uncovered a direct correlation between daily strawberry intake and lowered levels of insulin resistance, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and inflammation— all risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

The first study, Strawberry polyphenols and insulin resistance: a dose-response study in obese individuals with insulin resistance, presented by Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., MS, Director, Center for Nutrition Research, Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology, revealed a significant step toward type 2 diabetes prevention.

When obese adults consumed beverages containing different amounts of strawberry powder, blood insulin levels were significantly reduced in the individuals who consumed the highest concentration of the freeze-dried strawberry powder, equal to about 3 servings of strawberries per day.

These individuals also showed significantly decreased levels of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol, and a reduction in IL-6, a blood marker for inflammation.

The second study, "Dietary strawberries increase glutathione in obese participants with above optimal serum lipids," was presented by Arpita Basu, Ph.D., RD, Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

Obese adults were given a freeze-dried strawberry beverage and then measured for risk factors of heart disease. The participants who consumed 3.5 to 4 servings of strawberries daily had lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels than those consuming fewer servings, as well as reduced small LDL particles, both of which represent significant indicators of heart disease. Participants also had significantly higher levels of glutathione, an antioxidant biomarker associated with reduced risk of chronic disease.

"We already know strawberries are delicious, but these new studies give us even more evidence that eating strawberries as part of the daily diet can have a positive impact on our health, and reduce risk of disease," said Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition and cookbook author.

"These two studies focus on the benefits of eating strawberries daily to help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, two chronic diseases that plague Americans and cost us billions of dollars each year." â– 

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