A daily serving of strawberries improves cholesterol, study shows

A daily serving of freeze-dried strawberry powder, equivalent to one cup of fresh berries, lowered total cholesterol by almost 3 percent and LDL cholesterol by almost 5 percent, according to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study recently published by the Journal of the American Nutrition Associationi. The new study strengthens the body of research that has already demonstrated a cholesterol-lowering benefit for strawberry consumption.

The study was conducted with 40 men and women, aged 35 to 60. The participants were overweight or obese and had elevated serum cholesterol but no additional illness or chronic disease. During three periods of four weeks each – separated by a two-week washout period – participants received 40g freeze-dried 100 percent strawberry powder (the high dose), 13g freeze-dried strawberry powder (the low dose) or a control powder. Participants were instructed to consume the powder once per day and to maintain their usual diet and exercise routine.

There was a significant main treatment effect for the primary outcome of serum LDL-C and for total cholesterol. In post-hoc analyses, low-dose strawberry supplementation resulted in a 4.9 percent reduction in LDL-C compared to the high-dose but not compared to the control and a 2.4 percent reduction in TC compared to the high-dose and 2.8 percent reduction compared to the control. No additional significant effects were noted. The authors were unable to explain the lack of a dose-response effect.

Clinical trials have previously linked strawberries, a source of many bioactive compounds, including fiber, phytosterols and polyphenols, to several markers for cardiovascular disease. In another study of obese and overweight adults, daily consumption of strawberries significantly reduced total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, small LDL particle concentrations, and decreased lipid peroxidation. Strawberries have also been linked to decreases in markers for oxidative stress, inflammation and diastolic blood pressure.

The Pennsylvania State University led the study in cooperation with the University of Arizona, Tucson; Lafayette College, and Texas Tech University. The study was supported by the California Strawberry Commission, which also provided the strawberry powder.

For more information on strawberry research, you can view the California Strawberry Commission’s Health Research Round-up at the Nutrition Portal at www.calstrawberry.com.

About the California Strawberry Commission
The California Strawberry Commission represents more than 300 strawberry farmers, shippers, and processors, all working together to advance strawberry farming for the future of our land and people. Commission programs create opportunities for success through groundbreaking programs focused on workforce training, strawberry production research, and nutrition research. Through science-based information and education, it delivers the good news about sustainable farming practices that benefit the health of people, farms, and communities.