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Strawberries, the fruits that protect the heart and brain

May 01, 2022
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Strawberries, the fruits that protect the heart and brain

A precious source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, they improve the function of the endothelium, help reduce bad LDL cholesterol and insulin resistance, protect brain function, counteract cell degeneration

Fragrant, juicy and full of flavor, strawberries make their appearance on supermarket shelves to everyone's delight! According to the myth, strawberries were born from the tears of Venus, desperate for the fate of Adonis, the man she fell in love with and who had been pierced by the fangs of a wild boar, actually Mars transformed into this animal. The tears, as they fell to the ground, turned into fruit in the shape of a red heart. But, thanks to the knowledge we have today, we could also say that the shape evokes the cardioprotective properties of strawberries! In fact, these red fruits are a precious source of properties for the health of the heart and, as we will see, of the brain and the whole organism. So let's try to deepen the benefits of strawberries on the basis of the most recent scientific research.

Strawberries and heart

Strawberries are good for the heart and blood vessels. In fact, scientific studies have made it possible to observe that the intake of strawberries improved the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of blood vessels and the heart, with effects that were recorded already after an hour of consuming this fruit. Not only that, after two hours of taking strawberries there was also a decrease in systolic blood pressure (Huang et al, J Nutr, 2021). Finally, two servings of strawberries a day for a month have also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and the risk of atherosclerosis (Basu et al, Nutrients, 2021).

Strawberries and cognitive function

Previous studies performed on animals had already shown that strawberries contribute to improving cognitive function and the ability to move as we age. Recent research conducted on humans aged 60 to 75 showed that taking two cups a day of fresh strawberries, about 250 grams, for 3 months improved cognitive function by reducing response times on assessment tests and increasing the ability to recognize words (Miller et al, Br J Nutr, 2021).

Strawberries and blood sugar

Strawberries help keep blood sugar under control. Two servings a day of strawberries taken for a month, in fact, made it possible to reduce insulin resistance and consequently also the release of insulin, even in the presence of obesity (Basu et al, Nutrients, 2021).

Strawberries against aging and cellular degeneration

Strawberries counteract the aging processes since they provide antioxidants capable of opposing free radicals (Giampieri et al, Food Chem, 2017). Not only that, studies have also shown that phenols in strawberries are able to reduce the risk of certain types of cellular degeneration, such as those affecting the colon (Huang et al, Food Chem, 2022).

Strawberries and yogurt, a non-winning combination

A cup of yogurt enriched with fresh strawberries is everyone's joy. However, it should be kept in mind that this combination is not optimal as the combination of strawberries and yogurt immediately reduces the antioxidant power of strawberries by 23% and the content of phenols, a type of antioxidant, by 14% (Oliveira et al, Food Chem, 2015). In general, however, the problem is not found only with yogurt but any dairy product, when associated with strawberries, reduces its antioxidant power (Tadapaneni et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2012). In this case, therefore, if you want to preserve the properties of strawberries, it is better to opt for plant alternatives.

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