A daily serving of freeze-dried strawberry powder, equivalent to one cup of fresh berries, lowered total cholesterol by almost 3% and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol by almost 5%, according to a new study.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study recently published by the Journal of the American Nutrition Association strengthens the body of research that has already demonstrated a cholesterol-lowering benefit for strawberry consumption, according to a news release.
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, the release said. During three periods of four weeks each — separated by a two-week washout period — participants received 40-grams of freeze-dried 100% strawberry powder (the high dose), 13-grams of 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 cholesterol and for total cholesterol. In post-hoc analyses, low-dose strawberry supplementation resulted in a 4.9% reduction in LDL cholesterol compared to the high-dose but not compared to the control, and a 2.4% reduction in total cholesterol compared to the high dose and 2.8% reduction compared to the control. No additional significant effects were noted. The authors were unable to explain the lack of a dose-response effect, the release said.
Clinical trials have previously linked strawberries — a source of many bioactive compounds, including fiber, phytosterols and polyphenols — to several markers for cardiovascular disease, the release said. In another study of obese and overweight adults, daily consumption of strawberries significantly reduced total cholesterol and LDL 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 release said.
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.