Strawberry as a functional food: an evidence-based review

Arpita Basu, Angel Nguyen, Nancy M Betts, Timothy J Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Emerging research provides substantial evidence to classify strawberries as a functional food with several preventive and therapeutic health benefits. Strawberries, a rich source of phytochemicals (ellagic acid, anthocyanins, quercetin, and catechin) and vitamins (ascorbic acid and folic acid), have been highly ranked among dietary sources of polyphenols and antioxidant capacity. It should however be noted that these bioactive factors can be significantly affected by differences in strawberry cultivars, agricultural practices, storage, and processing methods: freezing versus dry heat has been associated with maximum retention of strawberry bioactives in several studies. Nutritional epidemiology shows inverse association between strawberry consumption and incidence of hypertension or serum C-reactive protein; controlled feeding studies have identified the ability of strawberries to attenuate high-fat diet induced postprandial oxidative stress and inflammation, or postprandial hyperglycemia, or hyperlipidemia in subjects with cardiovascular risk factors. Mechanistic studies have elucidated specific biochemical pathways that might confer these protective effects of strawberries: upregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity, downregulation of NF-kB activity and subsequent inflammation, or inhibitions of carbohydrate digestive enzymes. These health effects may be attributed to the synergistic effects of nutrients and phytochemicals in strawberries. Further studies are needed to define the optimal dose and duration of strawberry intake in affecting levels of biomarkers or pathways related to chronic diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-806
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Volume54
Issue number6
Early online date17 Dec 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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