Specifically, strawberries are noted by the authors as the richest source of vitamin C among berry fruits, and for their high concentration of anthocyanins, associated with a lower risk for certain cancers, improved memory and normal aging; and ellagic acid, a phenolic compound reported to have antiviral, antimicrobial and antioxidant activity as well as to provide protection against certain cancers. Strawberries are also an example of an ellagitannin-rich fruit, which may contribute to its unique biological effects in neuronal function and behavior as reported in animal models.
The authors conclude that a number of studies—both human and animal—support the positive role of berry fruits in human health, offering potential for protection against various diseases and from the damaging effects of free radicals based on specific biological activities, including anticancer, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
Nile SH, Park SW, Edible berries: Review on bioactive components and their effect on human health, Nutrition (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2013.04.007]]>
To build upon their previous research findings that whole berries optimize postprandial glucose and insulin responses to sucrose in healthy adults, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland conducted a series of three meal studies to identify the effects of berries on postprandial metabolic responses to starch. The three randomized, controlled crossover studies were conducted with 13 to 20 healthy female subjects who consumed reference meals that provided 50g of starch as white wheat bread (WB) or rye bread (RB), meals with WB and RB served with 6 different berries, or meals with WB or RB served with a mixture of four berries (strawberries, bilberries, cranberries and black currents).
Among berries rich in the ellagitannin polyphenols, only strawberries were found to have a significant effect on insulin response to WB, which suggests that total ellagitannin content is not a driving factor in lowering insulin response. The berry mixture was shown to have a similar insulin-lowering effect on both breads, despite the known differences in insulin responses between WB and RB. Finding no association of the insulin-lowering capacity and the polyphenol composition of the berries, the researchers suggest that the role of acidity and organic acid content of berries be addressed in future studies.
They concluded that consuming foods and food combinations that elicit a lower postprandial insulin response—such as the bread and berry pairings—may offer short- and long-term metabolic benefit for the prevention of type 2 diabetes, particularly for those high risk of developing the disease. Torronen R, Kolehmainen M, Sarkkinen E, Poutanen K, Mykkanen H, Niskanen L. Berries reduce postprandial insulin responses to wheat and rye breads in healthy women. J Nutr. 2013; 143: 430-436.]]>
Strawberries, bilberries, lingonberries, and chokeberries may blunt the insulin response to the starch-rich bread, and offer a means of reducing the risk of diabetes, says a new study from Finland.
Full article: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Berries-show-anti-diabetes-potential-Human-data]]>
Full article: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Berries-may-protect-brain-functioning-rat-study-suggests
The article reports results of epidemiological studies that support the protective effects of strawberries against a variety of chronic diseases and conditions, including hypertension, inflammation, cancer and cardiovascular mortality. In addition, clinical studies are reviewed that examine the health benefits of strawberries in healthy or overweight subjects and in individuals with mild to moderate elevations in serum cholesterol and with metabolic syndrome, showing favorable postprandial effects on glucose and lipid profiles.
The researchers identify emerging research in animal and cell models that provides evidence for the mechanisms of action of strawberries and their phytochemicals to ameliorate obesity, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and oxidative stress, as well as exert anti-carcinogenic effects. Results of emerging research are also reviewed that support the role of strawberries in reversing age-related neurodegenerative disorders, with the mechanisms of action having potential implications in the reversal of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Based on the review of several lines of evidence, the authors conclude strawberries satisfy the definition of a functional food, and that the consumption of strawberries—either fresh or frozen—can be an effective disease management and health-promoting dietary strategy.
Published online in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, February 19, 2013.
In the study, published in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation, over 93,000 women age 25-42 from the Nurse’s Health Study, who were healthy at the start, were followed for 18 years to determine the relationship between intake of anthocyanins and other flavonoids and incidence of heart attack. Higher consumption of anthocyanin- rich foods was associated with a 32 percent lower risk of heart attack in women in their mid-40s to age 60.
Food-based analyses for the main dietary sources of anthocyanins were conducted and strawberries and blueberries were identified as the main sources within this population. A reduced risk was not found for other food sources of flavonoids, except onions, which were protective if consumed more than 5 times per week. Previous research has demonstrated the beneficial effects of strawberries and berry anthocyanins on factors that contribute to heart disease, including cholesterol levels, endothelial function, and blood pressure. This study provides more evidence that consuming just a few more servings of strawberries and blueberries per week helps prevent heart disease in women.
From Neurology®: Habitual intake of dietary flavonoids and risk of Parkinson’s disease X. Gao, A. Cassidy, M.A. Schwarzshild, et al. Neurology 2012;78; 1138;
Published online before print April 4, 2012; DOI 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31824f7fc4 http://www.neurology.org/content/78/15/1138.short?rss=1]]>
Berries are particularly high in a subclass of flavonoids called anthocyanidins, which affect areas of learning and memory (e.g., hippocampus) in the brain. Flavonoids have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Both oxidative stress and inflammation are thought to be important contributors to cognitive impairment. Thus, increased flavonoid consumption from strawberries and other berries could be a strategy for reducing cognitive decline in older adults.
These findings are significant, as the study presents epidemiological evidence that berries may slow progression of cognitive decline in elderly women, and increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the number of elderly Americans aged 65 years and older increased by 15% between 2000 and 2010, faster than the total U.S. population during the same period.
From Annals of Neurology:
Dietary Intake of Berries and Flavonoids in Relation to Cognitive Decline
Devore, E. E., Kang, J. H., Breteler, M. M. B. and Grodstein, F. (2012), Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol.. doi: 10.1002/ana.23594
Jaroslawska J, Juskiewicz J, Wroblewska M, Jurgonski A, Krol B, and Zdunczyk Z. J. Nutr. Polyphenol-Rich Strawberry Pomace Reduces Serum and Liver Lipids and Alters Gastrointestinal Metabolite Formation in Fructose-Fed Rats. August 2011.]]>
Bassett MN, Sammán NC. Folate content and retention in selected raw and processed foods. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2010 Sep;60(3):298-305.]]>