Strawberries may reduce risk of heart disease

by Jeff Gelski
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WATSONVILLE, CALIF. — Flavonoids in strawberries may reduce the risk of heart disease since they improve the function of the endothelium, or cells inside blood vessels in the circulatory system, according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. Endothelial dysfunction is common in people with diabetes mellitus, hypertension and other chronic conditions that may increase the risk of heart disease.

In the study, researchers applied a water-soluble extract of strawberry powder to endothelial tissue in a laboratory model. The extract caused aortic vessels to relax through certain pathways, thus suggesting a beneficial role for strawberry in managing blood pressure and heart disease risk.

"Strawberries contain a variety of bioactive compounds that can promote longevity and quality of life," said Dr. Burton-Freeman, director of nutrition at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology. "For humans, these compounds can act as antioxidants, serve as anti-inflammatory agents, improve cell communication, cause cancer cells to die, detoxify carcinogens — a number of benefits consistent with health and disease risk reduction."

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