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The Power of a Strawberry

Charlyn Fargo on

While I don't believe in superfoods, I do think there are foods we should choose more often to include in our diet, including berries, avocadoes, leafy greens, pomegranates, salmon and whole grains such as quinoa.

A recent study, albeit small, highlights the power of adding strawberries to our plate. New research in the journal Nutrients found that eating 2 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries daily for a month lowered participants LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood glucose and insulin resistance.

The study was conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The 14-week randomized, controlled crossover study assigned 33 adults with metabolic syndrome features (abdominal obesity and elevated blood cholesterol) to one of three phases. The phases included a control powder beverage, a low dose of 13 grams freeze-dried strawberry powder (equal to one serving of fresh strawberries) and a high dose of 32 grams freeze-dried strawberry powder (equal to 2 1/2 servings of fresh strawberries). Participants were instructed to follow their usual diet and lifestyle while refraining from eating other berries throughout the study. Data was collected at the beginning and end of each four-week phase.

Researchers found the highest dose of strawberries had the biggest effect on fasting insulin, insulin resistance and lipid particle profiles in adults with obesity.

The authors credit the fiber, phytosterols and polyphenols found in strawberries for the favorable outcomes.

The bottom line is, for those want to reduce their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular difficulties, strawberries may be a food to include more often.

 

Q and A

Q: I want to eat less sugar, but I seem to have cravings for sweets. What should I do?

A: Transform your relationship with the sweet stuff, and you'll reap benefits of better sleep, more energy and a healthier you. Get started with a plan. Find a pleasurable activity so sugar isn't the only pleasure in your day. Try adding other foods besides sugar such as fruit on your cereal or oatmeal or vanilla in your tea. Read labels to find out how much added sugar is in the foods you eat. Can you find a Greek yogurt or peanut butter with less sugar? Sugar is also in many of the sweet alcoholic drinks like margaritas. Try cutting back. And eat mindfully -- being fully aware and appreciating every bite. Try the three-bite rule for a dessert. Have three bites, and give the rest to a friend. Most of us are satisfied with the first three bites.

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