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Freeze-Dried Strawberry Drink Linked to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels – and particularly high LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels – have long been linked with an increased risk of heart disease. A recent study suggests that drinking a freeze-dried strawberry drink may lower total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Participants in the study included 60 adults with excess fat around their belly and high cholesterol levels. Over the course of 12 weeks, they participated in one of four daily interventions: 25 gram strawberry beverage, 50 gram strawberry beverage, a low-dose control beverage or a high-dose control beverage.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that participants who drank the 50 gram strawberry beverage had decreases of 33 mg/dL in total cholesterol and 28 mg/dL in LDL cholesterol. The small LDL particle concentration also decreased by 301 nmol/L. Small LDL particles are associated with a higher risk of atherosclerosis or thickening of the artery wall.

Both the lower and higher dose drinks were also associated with lower levels of malondialdehyde, which is a marker of oxidative stress.

Researchers from Oklahoma State University, Queen’s University of Belfast in Northern Ireland, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 26, 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have also linked strawberries with reducing the risk of Parkinson’s disease, decreasing the risk of bladder infections, and improved vision. Strawberries are easily incorporated into your daily diet by adding them to smoothies, yogurt, pancakes, and fruit salads.

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