Sunday, June 15, 2008

Strawberries Promotes Health

June being the season for strawberries, I thought I would write a bit about its many health benefits. Strawberries not only look like a fruity heart-shaped valentine, they are filled with phytonutrients that love to promote your health. Strawberries are also an anti-cancer food. At the end of this article, you will find a link to healthy smoothie recipes that use fresh strawberries, amongst other equally beneficial fruits, as ingredients. So please improve your health by having a glass of healthy and delicious home-made smoothie today! I know I do.

Potent Antioxidant Protection from Phenols

Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich surce 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-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen block pain by blocking this enzyme, whose overactivity 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.

Strawberry Phytonutrients Promote Health

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. nterestingly, 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.

Protection against Macular Degeneration

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

In this study, which involved over 110,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but strawberries can help you reach this goal. Top your morning cereal, lunch time yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh strawberries. Dress up any green salad with sliced strawberries, slivered almonds and a splash of balsamic vinegar. For an easy, elegant dessert, blend fresh or frozen strawberries with a spoonful of honey and some soy or cow's milk or yogurt. Freeze for 20 minutes, then spoon into serving cups and decorate with a sprig of mint.

Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis

While one study suggests that high doses of supplemental vitamin C makes osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative arthritis that occurs with aging, worse in laboratory animals, another indicates that vitamin C-rich foods, such as strawberries, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints. The findings, presented in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases were drawn from a study of more than 20,000 subjects and focused on who developed inflammatory polyarthritis and similar subjects who remained arthritis-free during the follow-up period. Subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed the highest amounts. In terms of traditional nutrients, strawberries emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. They also qualified as a very good source of dietary fiber and iodine as well as a good source of potassium, folate , riboflavin, vitamin B5, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin b6, vitamin K, magnesium, and copper.

Fresh Strawberries in Smoothies

Why feed your body with artificial juices when you can easily make yourself a healthy drink filled with all the beneficial nutrients yourself?

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3 Comments:

Blogger Flameminx said...

All the more reason for me to start eating strawberries again. I really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to future posts. Thanks for the comment on blog. I missed seeing him today, too. Take care!

Kia

June 15, 2008 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger anna said...

Strawberries are a great source of vitamin K and manganese, with riboflavin, potassium and vitamin B5 6, folic acid, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and copper, and iodine. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin B1, biotin and pantothenic acid.

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August 25, 2010 at 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Alkaline Foods said...

Nicely said, Not bad at all! Interesting piece of information. I find it to be honest, useful and fresh so thank you so much for posting this!

March 16, 2011 at 5:07 AM  

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