Eating healthy to protect your heart and brain may be a little easier than you think after new research reveals the humble strawberry can give deliver a number of significant health benefits.
Fresh strawberries are a delicious treat that you can eat without guilt. Berries in general have long been known as a bit of a superfood due to their high levels of vitamins and antioxidants, but a recent study highlights all the different ways strawberries, in particular, can benefit your heart and brain.
The research, compiled by scientists from San Diego State University (SDSU) and presented to the NUTRITION 2023 conference in the US, showed that consuming strawberries every day can help improve cognitive function, lower blood pressure and increase a person’s antioxidant capacity.
The study looked at a sample of 35 healthy men and women between the ages of 66 and 78 over an eight-week period. The participants were split into two groups, with one group consuming 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder (equivalent to two servings of fresh strawberries) and the other getting 26 grams of a placebo control powder.
At the end of the eight weeks, the researchers found those who ate the strawberries increased their cognitive processing speed by 5.2 per cent, lowered their systolic blood pressure by 3.6 per cent, and increased their antioxidant capacity by 10.2 per cent when compared to those given the control powder.
Dr Shirin Hooshmand, lead author of the study and a professor in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at SDSU and principal investigator on the study, told Medical News Today the idea for this study came from previous research.
“Previously published research has already shown some of the acute and long-term cardiovascular health benefits of strawberries in different populations, so this is great to confirm some of those findings,” she said.
“This study demonstrates that consuming strawberries may promote cognitive function and improve cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension.
We’re encouraged that a simple dietary change, like adding strawberries to the daily diet, may improve these outcomes in older adults.”
Two servings of fresh strawberries is equivalent to around eight large strawberries.
You can eat them as they are, or there are many other interesting ways to incorporate strawberries into your diet such as blended into smoothies, as a healthier ice cream topping or even as a sweet addition to a salad.
Strawberries contain many vitamins and minerals the body needs to stay healthy, including vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, and folate (vitamin B9).
Strawberries are also known to have large amounts of antioxidants, including polyphenols and phytosterols. Polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and phytosterols aid in lowering cholesterol levels.
Do you like strawberries? How often do you eat them? Let us know in the comments section below.