University of Toronto researchers presented findings at the Experimental Biology 2007 meeting that showed strawberries can be an important part of the “Portfolio” diet designed to lower cholesterol.
The study aimed to test the palatability and cholesterol-lowering ability of the traditional portfolio diet and one modified to contain strawberries. Twenty- eight subjects who had been following the traditional portfolio diet for an average of 18 months were instructed to eat either three, one-cup servings of strawberries or their typical 2 ounces of oat bran bread daily for one month with a washout period between each trial.
The subjects rated the palatability of strawberries as an 8.8 out of a maximum of 10 compared to oat bran at 6.2 out of 10. On both the strawberry and oat bran interventions, LDL-cholesterol levels were about 13% reduced from baseline, but were not significantly different from each other.
In 2003, the University of Toronto researchers first reported on the cholesterol-lowering effects of a combination of plant-based cholesterol-lowering foods (soy, nuts, soluble fiber and sterols) eaten together for maximum benefit. The scientists have reported that up to a third of individuals following the portfolio approach experienced more than a 20% reduction in LDL-cholesterol levels and another one- third experienced a 15% reduction. The only downside to the approach is that the portfolio plan is hard to follow due to the strict combination of foods that many individuals do not find appealing.
Nguyen TH, Kendall WC, Faulkner DA et al. (2007) Strawberries to improve the palatability of a cholesterol lowering diet. 2007 Experimental Biology meeting, Abstract # 847.27, www.eb2007-online.com/bin/faseb.html; accessed April 20, 2007.