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Strawberries Health Benefits

Updated April 9th, 2013

Strawberries are one of nature’s healthiest "packages" of power nutrients. There is strong evidence that strawberries are a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit all rolled into one ripe treat.

Let’s have a look at strawberries health benefits.

1 Vitamins, Phytochemicals & Antioxidants

One of the top benefits of strawberries is their antioxidant and phytonutrient content, which give strawberries heart-protecting, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. According to a US Department of Agriculture study[1], strawberries rank third when compared to the top fresh fruits and vegetables.

Strawberries are widely known for their potential health benefits due to their high vitamin C, fiber, B-vitamins, and potassium contents.

In addition, strawberries are abundant in phytonutrients, including flavonoids, anthocyanidins and ellagic acid, that have been the subject of much investigation by numerous research laboratories.

2 Cancer Prevention

There have been many published reports on the anticancer effects of strawberries. Strawberries are one of the few sources, along with raspberries and grapes, of ellagic acid, a compound which has been shown to prevent carcinogens from turning healthy cells into cancerous ones.

The anticarcinogenic effect of ellagic acid was shown in several types of cancers including skin, esophageal[8], breast, colon, and pancreas[7] cancers.

Besides ellagic acids strawberries contain a multitude of cancer-fighting compounds, including vitamin C, folate, anthocyanins, quercetin and kaempferol. Strawberries have shown promise in both cell culture[5] and epidemiological studies[6].

Recent study found that freeze-dried strawberry powder can prevent esophageal cancer[17].

3 Cardiovascular Disease Protection

New research from Harvard Medical School[9] found that strawberries may offer cardiovascular disease protection. The study found that those who reported eating the most strawberries experienced lower blood levels of C-reactive protein.

C-reactive protein or CRP is a blood biomarker that signals the presence of inflammation in the body. Elevated levels of CRP have been shown in multiple studies to be a potentially good predictor of risk for both heart disease and stroke, as it is generally a signal of atherosclerosis.

4 Anti-Clotting Effect

Strawberry consumption may protect against blood clot formation.

An animal study[10] found that strawberries had a powerful anti-clotting effect. Strawberry extracts were shown to produce anti-clotting (anti-thrombotic) properties in mice, an effect possibly mediated by inhibiting platelet activity and by producing antioxidant effects.

5 Prevention of Atherosclerosis

Strawberries may play a role in the prevention of arterial plaques (atherosclerosis). Freeze-dried strawberry powder decreases circulating levels of adhesion molecules, which may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis[11].

6 Fountain of Youth: Prevents Neuronal and Behavioral Aging

Strawberries may protect against the decline of the central nervous system in age-related neurodegenerative diseases and to provide benefits to the aging brain[2].

"Research suggests that the polyphenolic compounds found in berry fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries, may exert their beneficial effects either through their ability to lower oxidative stress and inflammation or directly by altering the signaling involved in neuronal communication, calcium buffering ability, neuroprotective stress shock proteins, plasticity, and stress signaling pathways. These interventions, in turn, may exert protection against age-related deficits in cognitive and motor function."[3]

High intake of blueberries and strawberrie appears to reduce rate of age-related cognitive decline in older adults[4].

Now researchers are looking at the effects of strawberry supplementation in three areas: behavioral aging, repair and regeneration of nerve cells in aging, and resistance to oxidative stress in aging.

7Sweet and Delicious, But Low in Sugar

Strawberries have a low Glycemic Index of 40. It is that rare case when sweet and tasty treat is waist-friendly and good for your health.

8 Help to Lower Cholesterol Levels

Researchers at the University of Toronto found that antioxidants in strawberries help lower "bad" cholesterol[13].

The researchers also found that people who consumed strawberries had reduced oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol, which is even more damaging when becomes oxidized.

9 Reduce Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

One of the benefits of strawberries may be the protection against rheumatoid arthritis.

Strawberries contain a lot of vitamin C. In fact, about eight medium berries provide 160 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C.

A large population based study[14] of more than 20,000 people found that vitamin C may protect against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

Participants who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C were three times more likely to develop the arthritic condition than those who consumed the highest amounts of vitamin C.

10 Prevent Ultraviolet Skin Damage

Ellagic acid, an antioxidant found in strawberries, may help prevent wrinkles and repair skin damage caused by the sun.

Researchers from Hallym University in South Korea applied ellagic acid to human skin cells in the lab and to the skin of hairless mice that had been exposed to strong, ultraviolet rays. In the human cells, ellagic acid reduced the destruction of collagen and inflammatory response, both major causes of wrinkles. Researchers had a similar result in 4-week-old mice, which are often used in dermatology studies because their skin is similar to that of humans.

11 Prevent Ulcers (Helicobacter pylori infection)

Berry extracts help kill the bacteria that cause most ulcers and improve the efficacy of prescription ulcer therapy, according to a report from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. The Nebraska researchers[15] demonstrated that berry extracts not only inhibit the growth of H. pylori, but also render it more susceptible to clarithromycin, one of the antibiotics used to eradicate the bacteria.

12 Enhance Vision

According to a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology, eating three or more servings of fruit per day may lower a person’s risk of age-related macular degeneration by 36 percent[16].

It is not known exactly how fruit helps, but it is thought that the antioxidants may help protect macular cells in the retina by neutralising free radicals. However, because the antioxidant vitamins and carotenes did not contribute to the prevention in age-related macular degeneration, it is possible that other molecules in fruit may be playing a role.

Nutrient contents of Strawberries
Water 90.95 g
Energy 32 kcal
Energy 136 kj
Protein 0.67 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.3 g
Ash 0.4 g
Carbohydrate, by difference 7.68 g
Fiber, total dietary 2 g
Sugars, total 4.89 g
Sucrose 0.47 g
Glucose (dextrose) 1.99 g
Fructose 2.44 g
Starch 0.04 g
Calcium, Ca 16 mg
Iron, Fe 0.41 mg
Magnesium, Mg 13 mg
Phosphorus, P 24 mg
Potassium, K 153 mg
Sodium, Na 1 mg
Zinc, Zn 0.14 mg
Copper, Cu 0.048 mg
Manganese, Mn 0.386 mg
Selenium, Se 0.4 mcg
Fluoride, F 4.4 mcg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 58.8 mg
Thiamin 0.024 mg
Riboflavin 0.022 mg
Niacin 0.386 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.125 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.047 mg
Folate, total 24 mcg
Folate, DFE 24 mcg_DFE
Choline, total 5.7 mg
Betaine 0.2 mg
Vitamin A, RAE 1 mcg_RAE
Carotene, beta 7 mcg
Vitamin A, IU 12 IU
Lutein + zeaxanthin 26 mcg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.29 mg
Tocopherol, beta 0.01 mg
Tocopherol, gamma 0.08 mg
Tocopherol, delta 0.01 mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 2.2 mcg
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.015 g
16:0 0.012 g
18:0 0.003 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.043 g
16:1 undifferentiated 0.001 g
18:1 undifferentiated 0.042 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.155 g
18:2 undifferentiated 0.09 g
18:3 undifferentiated 0.065 g
Phytosterols 12 mg
Tryptophan 0.008 g
Threonine 0.02 g
Isoleucine 0.016 g
Leucine 0.034 g
Lysine 0.026 g
Methionine 0.002 g
Cystine 0.006 g
Phenylalanine 0.019 g
Tyrosine 0.022 g
Valine 0.019 g
Arginine 0.028 g
Histidine 0.012 g
Alanine 0.033 g
Aspartic acid 0.149 g
Glutamic acid 0.098 g
Glycine 0.026 g
Proline 0.02 g
Serine 0.025 g

Sources & References

  • 1. Halvorsen BL, Carlsen MH, Phillips KM, Bøhn SK, Holte K, Jacobs DR Jr, Blomhoff R. Content of redox-active compounds (ie, antioxidants) consumed in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jul;84(1):95-135.
  • 2. Joseph JA et al. Long-term dietary strawberry, spinach, or vitamin E supplementation retards the onset of age-related neuronal signal-transduction and cognitive behavioral deficits. J Neurosci. 18, 19:8047-55, 1998.
  • 3. Shukitt-Hale B, Lau FC, Joseph JA. Berry fruit supplementation and the aging brain. J Agric Chem. 2008 Feb 13;56(3):636-41.
  • 4. Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, Grodstein F. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol. 2012 Jul;72(1):135-43.
  • 5. Seeram NP, Adams LS, Zhang Y, Lee R, Sand D, Scheuller HS, Heber D. Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extracts inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro. 2006 Dec 13;54(25):9329-39.
  • 6. Freedman ND, Park Y, Subar AF, Hollenbeck AR, Leitzmann MF, Schatzkin A, Abnet CC. Fruit and vegetable intake and head and neck cancer risk in a large United States prospective cohort study. Int J Cancer. 2008 May 15;122(10):2330-6.
  • 7. Edderkaoui M, Odinokova I, Ohno I, Gukovsky I, Go VLW, Pandol SJ, Gukovskaya AS. Ellagic acid induces apoptosis through inhibition of NF-κB in pancreatic cancer cells. World J Gastroenterol 2008; 14(23): 3672-3680
  • 8. Carlton PS, Kresty LA, Siglin JC, Morse MA, Lu J, Morgan C, Stoner GD. Inhibition of N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine-induced tumorigenesis in the rat esophagus by dietary freeze-dried strawberries. Carcinogenesis. 2001 Mar;22(3):441-6.
  • 9. Sesso HD, Gaziano JM, Jenkins DJ, Buring JE. Strawberry intake, lipids, C-reactive protein, and the risk of cardiovascular disease in women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Aug;26(4):303-10.
  • 10. Naemura A, Mitani T, Ijiri Y, Tamura Y, Yamashita T, Okimura M, Yamamoto J. Anti-thrombotic effect of strawberries. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2005 Oct;16(7):501-9.
  • 11. Basu A, Fu DX, Wilkinson M, Simmons B, Wu M, Betts NM, Du M, Lyons TJ. Strawberries decrease atherosclerotic markers in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Nutr Res. 2010 Jul;30(7):462-9.
  • 12. Hou DX, Yanagita T, Uto T, Masuzaki S, Fujii M. Anthocyanidins inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 expression in LPS-evoked macrophages: structure-activity relationship and molecular mechanisms involved. Biochem Pharmacol. 2005 Aug 1;70(3):417-25.
  • 13. Jenkins DJ, Nguyen TH, Kendall CW, Faulkner DA, Bashyam B, Kim IJ, Ireland C, Patel D, Vidgen E, Josse AR, Sesso HD, Burton-Freeman B, Josse RG, Leiter LA, Singer W. Metabolism. 2008 Dec;57(12):1636-44
  • 14. Pattison DJ, Silman AJ, Goodson NJ, Lunt M, Bunn D, Luben R, Welch A, Bingham S, Khaw KT, Day N, Symmons DP. Vitamin C and the risk of developing inflammatory polyarthritis: prospective nested case-control study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2004 Jul;63(7):843-7.
  • 15. Chatterjee A, Yasmin T, Bagchi D, Stohs SJ. Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori in vitro by various berry extracts, with enhanced susceptibility to clarithromycin. Mol Cell Biochem. 2004 Oct;265(1-2):19-26.
  • 16. Cho E, Seddon JM, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;122(6):883-92.
  • 17. Chen T, Yan F, Qian J, Guo M, Zhang H, Tang X, Chen F, Stoner GD, Wang X. Randomized phase II trial of lyophilized strawberries in patients with dysplastic precancerous lesions of the esophagus. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Jan;5(1):41-50