Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported their findings in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Using dietary intake records of approximately 27,000 of the women who participated in the decade-long Women’s Health Study, lead researcher Dr. Sesso looked at levels of strawberry consumption and several risk factors for heart disease. The findings revealed that women who ate the most strawberries – two or more servings per week – compared to those who reported eating none in the past month, were 14 percent less likely to have elevated C-reactive protein levels – a blood biomarker that signals the presence of inflammation in the body.

Strawberries are High in Antioxidants

   You’ve heard it before, but a diet high in vegetables and fruits can help you combat cardiovascular disease, cancer, and prevent or delay the onset of many of the effects of aging. Research at the USDA ‘s Agricultural Research Service at Lane, OK suggests that the high antioxidant levels in strawberries can help neutralize the destructive effects of free radicals in your system, while helping your body to repair its tissues by giving you an added boost of vitamin C.

Strawberries help your Body Combat Heart Attach, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease

   A serving of strawberries will provide you with 210 mg of potassium, a mineral that will help regulate the electrolytes in your body, lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke. Strawberries are also high in folate, a key ingredient in the manufacture of red blood cells, and a possible aid in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

   Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich source of phenols. In the strawberry, these phenols are led by the anthocyanins (especially anthocyanin 2) and by the ellagitannins. The anthocyanins in strawberry not only provide its flush red color, they also serve as potent antioxidants that have repeatedly been shown to help protect cell structures in the body and to prevent oxygen damage in all of the body’s organ systems. Strawberries’ unique phenol content makes them a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberry include the ability of phenols in this fruit to lessen activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, or COX. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen block pain by blocking this enzyme, whose over activity has been shown to contribute to unwanted inflammation, such as that which is involved in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Unlike drugs that are COX-inhibitors, however, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding.

   The ellagitannin content of strawberries has actually been associated with decreased rates of cancer death. In one study, strawberries topped a list of eight foods most linked to lower rates of cancer deaths among a group of over 1,000 elderly people. Those eating the most strawberries were three times less likely to develop cancer compared to those eating few or no strawberries.

  A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry analyzed eight strawberry cultivars for their content of protective plant compounds (phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins) and their antioxidant capacities. Although the various cultivars differed significantly in the amounts of the various beneficial compounds each contained, all cultivars (Earliglow, Annapolis, Evangeline, Allstar, Sable, Sparkle, Jewel, and Mesabi) were able to significantly inhibit the proliferation of human liver cancer cells. Interestingly, no relationship was found between a cultivar’s antioxidant content and its ability to inhibit cancer cell proliferation, which suggests that this beneficial effect of strawberries is caused by other actions of their many beneficial compounds.

   Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber and iodine. Plus, strawberries are a good source of potassium, folate, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, and vitamin K.

   Strawberries also contain an array of beneficial phytonutrients, including flavonoids, anthocyanidins and ellagic acid.

Reference links:

 Health Benefits of Strawberries: Enjoy a Low Calorie Way to Get Vitamins and Minerals http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/health_benefits_of_strawberries#ixzz0qCIN4NML

http://www.healthcastle.com/strawberries_heart.shtml

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=32