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6 sweet health benefits of strawberries

More reasons to eat more of that heart-shaped fruit.

1. Younger skin

Packed with vitamin C, strawberries are a great fruit for maintaining healthy, supple skin. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the manufacture of collagen - the protein that helps to maintain the skin’s firmness and elasticity, and also helps to prevent cellular damage by fighting off the free radicals that try to steal oxygen from healthy cells. As little as 8 strawberries will provide you with around 150% of your daily amount of vitamin C with only 30 calories.

2. Protect your heart

Strawberries contain antioxidant flavonoids called anthocyanins, which give fruits like strawberries their red and purple colours. These anthoycyanins have been shown to help promote healthy blood pressure by protecting the lining of the bloods vessels. In a study from the University of East Anglia, women that ate more than three servings per week of strawberries and blueberries had a 32 percent lower risk of having a heart attack compared with those who ate less.

3. Reduce inflammation

Those antioxidant anthocyanins have also been linked to the reduction of inflammation. In a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, women who ate 16 or more strawberries a week had lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the body that is linked to arthritis and heart disease. Strawberries also contain a compound called lupeol, which researchers have concluded is a potentially useful tool for treating chronic inflammation and cancerous tumour development.

4. Help with weight loss

Anthocyanins in strawberries have also been shown to help stimulate the burning of stored fat. In a study from The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, mice that were fed a high-fat diet along with anthocyanins gained 24 percent less weight than those mice that were just fed a high fat diet. Strawberries are also a good source of dietary fibre, which helps slow the absorption of sugars in the blood and minimises the amount that it stored as fat.

5. Lower cholesterol

A study from the University of Toronto has found that antioxidants in strawberries can be effective in treating people suffering from high cholesterol. In the study, strawberry supplementation was shown to reduce the oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol, which if left unchecked can lead to deposits and build up in arteries. Recently, another study looked at the cholesterol-lowering abilities of strawberries in 23 healthy humans. The researchers found that the dietary addition of strawberries significantly lowered the amount of LDL cholesterol and triglyceride fat in the blood.

6. Slow down ageing

Strawberries can help keep you younger right down to your DNA. The answer appears to lie in the telomeres, a key component of DNA that essentially represents our biological age. Shorter telomeres signify faster cellular ageing. Studies have shown that people who eat the most vitamin C-rich foods such as strawberries, have longer telomeres making them biologically younger. Another study has also shown that strawberries can help keep your brain young by delaying cognitive impairments by up to 2.5 years.

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