A systematic review in Nutrients found that anthocyanins in strawberries significantly improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, even among people with high cholesterol.
Numerous epidemiological studies have examined the connection between anthocyanins (a dietary flavanoid) and cardiovascular disease. In this systematic review, researchers analyzed 10 randomized controlled trials, which tested the effects of anthocyanins on markers of cardiovascular disease (i.e. triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure).
Decrease in LDL: Four of nine studies found that anthocyanin supplementation significantly lowered LDL cholesterol levels in adults with hyperlipidemia. One study witnessed a 25% decrease in LDL in the intervention group versus the control.
Increase in HDL: The majority of studies reported that the anthocyanin intervention significantly increased HDL cholesterol among hyperlipidemic, healthy, and prehypertensive individuals as well as those with metabolic syndrome.
Decrease in Triglycerides: Subjects with hyperlipidemia experienced a significant drop in triglyceride levels in two of the eight studies that evaluated the biomarker.
Anthocyanins may tamper with lipid and glucose absorption, inhibit cholesterol synthesis, and/or modulate low-grade inflammation, although more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms.
The results of this systematic review indicate that anthocyanins in strawberries may help prevent the development and progression of cardiovascular disease among high-risk individuals.
Taylor C. Wallace, et al. Systematic Review of Anthocyanins and Markers of Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients, January 2016.