Nutrition: Strawberries help fight disease

Just in time for strawberry season, Spanish and Italian researchers have shown that eating strawberries daily increases red blood cells’

nutritionstrawberriesgoodforredbloodcells

Just in time for strawberry season, Spanish and Italian researchers have shown that eating strawberries daily increases red blood cells’ response to disease-causing oxidative stress, according to a report in Science Daily News.

For the study, volunteers ate 500 grams (a generous pound) of strawberries over the course of a day, every day for two weeks. The researchers took blood samples from the participants after four, eight, 12 and 16 days, and also a month later. The findings, published in the journal Food Chemistry, showed that regular strawberry consumption can improve the antioxidant capacity of blood plasma and boost the resistance of red blood cells to oxidation.

Strawberries contain large amounts of phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties. These compounds can reduce oxidative stress and help fight against free radicals that can result in certain diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The researchers are now evaluating the effects of eating smaller quantities of strawberries (typical consumption tends to be a 150 g- or 200 g-bowl per day, less than half of the test amount).

They suggest that the important thing to take away from this study is that strawberries should be one of the daily fruit and vegetable servings in people’s healthy and balanced diet. According to Canada’s Food Guide, women should have seven to eight servings and men eight to ten servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

Of course adding more strawberries to the diet is a pleasure this time of year. One of my favourites is to start each day with a strawberry smoothie (this morning was strawberry, banana and mango, amazing!). Try Best  Health’s Strawberry-Cucumber Salad, Arugula & Strawberry Salad, or pick your favourites from 10 ways to enjoy fresh strawberries.

What’s your creative way to serve local fresh strawberries?

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