Wednesday, July 25, 2012
By: John Phillip
[NaturalNews] Flavonoids from many fruits have been associated with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help prevent a host of diseases ranging from cardiovascular ailments and metabolic disorders to dementia and cognitive decline. Increased antioxidant activity promoted by consumption of strawberries is essential to halt damage to metabolically active organs such as the heart and brain, and when consumed as part of a regular dietary regimen can prevent cellular damage associated with chronic disease and early death.
Researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK have been studying the beneficial effects of strawberries on our cardiovascular health, particularly with regard to how they prevent the development of heart disease and diabetes. A study team led by Dr. Paul Thornalley has found that extracts from strawberries positively activate a protein in our bodies called ‘Nrf2’ which is shown to increase antioxidant and other protective activities. The protein decreases total blood lipids and levels of oxidized cholesterol, two elements known to promote cardiovascular disease.
Strawberries influence the expression of digestive genes to improve cholesterol absorption
Prior research has shown how consumption of strawberries can counter post-meal blood glucose surges and improve dangerous levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, thereby decreasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. This is the first time that strawberry extracts have been demonstrated to positively stimulate proteins that offer us protection against disease.
Dr. Thornalley commented “We’ve discovered the science behind how strawberries work to increase our built-in defenses to keep cells, organs and blood vessels healthy and which can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and diabetes.” Strawberries and other members of the berry family modify our blood cholesterol profile with an effect similar to that seen with a high fiber diet, where cholesterol is absorbed in the intestines before it can be processed by the liver.
Strawberries accomplish this effect by down-regulating the impact of genes in the digestive tract that influence cholesterol absorption. The berries can also impact how the liver processes cholesterol, the degree of damaging oxidation and re-absorption of cholesterol for use by the trillions of cells throughout the body. As with most other natural foods that are shown to influence the expression of individual genes, only small quantities (one to two servings of strawberries, several days a week) of the super fruit are needed to provide positive health benefits that may help prevent a host of chronic illnesses.
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