In case you aren’t already in love with strawberries, here are some more reasons to get the love fest with strawberries on this season. This low-calorie fruit is loaded with antioxidants known as phenols which not only give strawberries their irresistible red colour, but they also fill this berry with heart-protective, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, says a new study.
A team at University of Warwick discovered extracts from strawberries positively activate a protein in our bodies called ‘Nrf2’ which is shown to increase antioxidant and other protective activities. This protein works to decrease blood lipids and cholesterol. City doctors mostly tend to agree.
‘Strawberries till now were only known to maintain youthful skin but it’s for the first time that they are known to be good for the heart,’ says Dr Vinay Sanghi, cardiologist, Fortis Escort.
‘We do not know what exactly stimulates this substance, Nrf2, and there is a need of more research. Although it has been proven that all berries are good for health,’ said Sanghi.
These berries contain lots of vital nutrients — vitamin C, folate and fibre — which form an ideal cardiac health pack. Fibre is a necessity for healthy digestion and strawberries naturally contain about 2g per serving. Fibre can also aid in fighting Type 2 diabetes (a person with Type 2 diabetes still produces insulin but the body does not respond to it normally). Fibre helps slow the absorption of sugars [glucose] in the blood.
Vitamin C is a well-known immunity booster, as well as a powerful, fast-working antioxidant and folate is another nutrient in promoting the heart.
In addition to folate, strawberries are high in fiber and potassium, both good for the heart.
‘These studies which keep coming day in and out confuse laymen and may leave negative effects,’ says Dr Ashwani Mehta, a senior consultant cardiologist. ‘Those who eat a meal rich in green vegetables and fruits are able to keep heart strokes and diabetes at bay. But saying that eating strawberries alone will prevent heart disease has not been proved scientifically,’ he added.
‘It has been noticed that coloured fruits like strawberries, red grapes, etc. have antioxidants like vitamin C and other vital minerals but there is no proven data for strawberries alone preventing heart disease. There is a need to carry out this study over larger population,’ says Dr Arun Mohanty, senior consultant interventional cardiologist.
‘Strawberries alone can not prevent diabetes. Bitter gourd and java plum are better options and they are cheaper,’ claims endocrinologist Dr Surender Kumar.
Vitamin C in strawberries also serve as anti-aging ingredients as it is vital to the production of collagen, which helps to improve skin’s elasticity and resilience.
So how about more of these red juicy berries from now on?