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Recent UC Davis Study Finds Strawberries May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 General News J E 4
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WATSONVILLE, Calif., Dec. 16 A recent study from theUniversity of California, Davis and the Illinois Institute of Technology foundthat strawberries may reduce the risk of heart disease. The popular fruit isrich in flavonoids, important compounds that may improve function of theendothelium -- the cells that line the inside of blood vessels through theentire circulatory system.

In the study, researchers found that strawberries promote a healthyendothelium which supports a healthy cardiovascular system. The loss ofproper endothelial function, or endothelial dysfunction, is very common inpeople with diabetes mellitus, hypertension and other chronic conditions thatcan increase the risk of heart disease.

For the study, a water-soluble extract of strawberry powder was applied toendothelial tissue in a laboratory model. The extract caused aortic vesselsto relax through endothelial- nitric oxide- dependent pathways. The resultssuggest a beneficial role for strawberry in the management of blood pressureand heart disease risk.

Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, Director of Nutrition at the National Center forFood Safety and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology andAssistant Research Nutritionist at the University of California, Davis hasbeen involved in this and other studies regarding obesity and chronic diseaseresearch for more than 15 years. Her current research includes developingdietary strategies in conjunction with lifestyle changes for long-termtreatment and management of obesity and related diseases, such as heartdisease, diabetes and some cancers. She uses clinical, plant and basicscience methodologies to study the effects of diet and dietary constituents onkey processes contributing to healthy and pathogenic outcomes in humans.

In a recent presentation to members of the American Dietetic Association,Dr. Burton-Freeman said, "Strawberries contain a variety of bioactivecompounds that can promote longevity and quality of life. For humans, thesecompounds can act as antioxidants, serve as anti-inflammatory agents, improvecell to cell communication, cause cancer cells to die, detoxify carcinogens-- a number of benefits consistent with health and disease risk reduction."

She ended by saying, "Strawberries present a wonderful opportunity toachieve a higher quality of life, so we can live well at all ages -- providinga foundation for youth, but also as we move into our older years consideringways in which we can age in the healthiest way possible."

Strawberries not only taste great, but research now further shows thatthey are good for your heart, blood vessels and support a healthy bloodpressure. They also contain vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber. Visithttp://www.calstrawberry.com for more information about the health benefits ofstrawberries.

The California Strawberry Commission is a state government agency thatrepresents an industry of more than 500 growers and 60 shippers and processorsof California strawberries. With a focus on food safety education, Commissionstrategies also include production and nutrition research, trade relations,public policy and marketing communications.

For more information contact the California Strawberry Commission at831-724-1301.

SOURCE California Strawberry Commission
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