Daily consumption of 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder moderately improves cognitive processing speed, lowers systolic blood pressure and increases total antioxidant capacity in healthy older adults, potentially promoting cognitive function and improving cardiovascular risk factors, according to new research from San Diego State University.
Strawberries are a source of many bioactive compounds. In addition to providing 100% of our daily vitamin C needs, strawberries contain heart-healthy nutrients such as folate, potassium, fiber, phytosterols and polyphenols.
Previous clinical trials have linked strawberry consumption to improvements in several markers of cardiovascular disease, including reduced total and LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
The link between strawberry consumption and brain health has also been well studied in both clinical and population-based studies.
Strawberries and pelargonidin, a biochemical substance found primarily in strawberries, were linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s dementia in studies conducted at Rush University.
Long-term observational studies, including the Health Professionals Study and the Nurses’ Health Study, showed that strawberry consumers had lower rates of cognitive decline.
“The polyphenolic compounds in strawberries may improve cognitive function and cardiovascular health due to their antioxidant capacity,” said San Diego State University professor Shirin Hooshmand and colleagues.
“We aimed to investigate the effects of strawberries on cognitive function and cardiometabolic health in healthy aging adults.”
The double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted with 35 healthy men and women aged 66 to 78.
Participants consumed 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder, equivalent to two servings of strawberries daily, or a control powder for eight weeks each.
After strawberry consumption, cognitive processing speed increased by 5.2%, systolic blood pressure decreased by 3.6%, and total antioxidant capacity significantly increased by 10.2%.
Waist circumference decreased by 1.1% during both the control and intervention arms of the trial.
While consuming the control powder, participants experienced increased serum triglycerides.
“Our study shows that consuming strawberries can promote cognitive function and improve cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension,” Professor Hooshmand said.
“We are encouraged that a simple dietary change, such as adding strawberries to the daily diet, can improve these outcomes in older adults.”
Michelle Tsang et al. Effects of strawberry on cognition and cardiovascular health in older healthy adults: a randomized, crossover, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. NUTRITION 2023P23-074-23