This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Strawberries are now being called a superfruit by researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK. Their study found that this luscious summertime treat, so appealing to the eye, as well as the palate, might significantly enhance heart health, being beneficial for those with unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Author Paul Thornalley and his team found strawberries contain compounds that activate a protein in the body known as Nrf2. This protein is protective of the cardiovascular system, reducing blood lipids and cholesterol. Additionally, it jumpstarts certain defense mechanisms and functions as an antioxidant, neutralizing detrimental particles.
Aside from the heart benefit, prior studies show that strawberries can help prevent diabetes by curtailing post-meal blood glucose. Although earlier research reveals the fruit’s benefit on glucose and cholesterol, the recent study is the first to prove it boosts proteins that are protective against certain diseases. Thornalley characterizes the discovery as being the mechanism by which strawberries help keep cells, organs and blood vessels healthy, lowering the incidence of heart disease and diabetes.
The researchers intend to continue researching strawberries to determine the optimal quantity that should be eaten to receive the most benefit. They will also delve into identifying the best varieties of the fruit and ascertain how they should be processed and served. Until then, Thornalley admonishes people not to feel guilty about eating strawberries and cream, although he recommends reducing the cream or leaving it out completely.
In addition to Thornalley, other scientists and experts are extolling the health benefits of this little gem of a fruit. In a study published in PLoS ONE, researchers found strawberries might slow down the development of stomach ulcers. Also, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture states that the fruit can boost the immune system and may help prevent macular degeneration and cancer.
How to Get the Most Out of Strawberries
Carla Haley, an agent associated with the above department, provides recommendations for purchasing and storing strawberries.
- Choose brightly colored berries with bright green caps.
- Avoid the darker ones, as they will be overripe.
- Store them in the refrigerator in a shallow container, no more than two berries deep.
- Do not rinse the berries or remove the caps before you are ready to eat them.
- Try to use them within 2 to 3 days.