Strawberries are an essential spring and summertime snack. Along with being absolutely scrumptious mixed into lemonade, piled on top of shortcake, or enjoyed all on their own, the sweet fruit also happens to have a lot of incredible health benefits!
Heart Health Benefits of Strawberries
Have you ever noticed strawberries are kind of shaped like a heart? That might have been nature’s way of trying to tell us they’re great for our ticker!
A study from the Journal of Nutrition published just last month backs that up. Researchers looked into the effect of strawberries on cardiac risk factors like cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. They observed participants who ate the fruit twice a day over a four-week period and found it especially helpful for improving blood vessel function and blood pressure. The authors add that this heart healthy boost is likely thanks to strawberries’ phenolic properties.
This lines up with several other similar studies on the subject, like previous research from Harvard which claimed eating strawberries (and blueberries) at least three times a week reduced their participants’ risk of heart attack by 34 percent!
Are strawberries good for your gut?
It’s not just your heart that can benefit from strawberries. Researchers from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Illinois Institute of Technology highlighted a link between the fruit and maintaining a good gut balance.
Like the recent heart study, they also tracked participants over a four week period. This time, some were given a drink made with real strawberries while others received one that just looked and tasted similar without any actual strawberries in it. Researchers discovered that the drink with strawberries reduced concentrations of something called secondary bile acids, which can help balance the overall gut microbiome.
“Reduced levels of the individual and specific subgroups of secondary bile acids indicate that regular strawberry intake modulates microbial metabolism of bile acids, which could lead to a number of health benefits warranting follow-up,” study author Britt Burton-Freeman explained. “Based on the changes, we would hypothesize reduced colonic inflammation, reduced gut permeability, metabolic influences, and a healthier gut microbial community.” That’s a lot of potentially amazing gut benefits from a simple strawberry.
Are strawberries good for the brain?
Although we don’t really need even more reasons to add strawberries to our next grocery list, another study published earlier this year in the British Journal of Nutrition claims they can help improve our memory, too!
In this case, participants consumed either a freeze-dried strawberry drink or a similar beverage without the fruit over a 90-day period. They were all given cognitive tests at the start, in the middle, and directly after the trial period.
The results found that those given the drink with real strawberries performed better in both spatial memory tasks and word recognition tests. The authors believe this is promising news for improving cognition as we age, but add that more research will be needed.
Boosting our heart, gut, and brain health — that’s a lot of great news for strawberry fans to keep in mind while they snack!