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Strawberry Extract May Improve Cholesterol for Obese People

A new study from researchers at the USDA and the University of California, Davis has found that strawberry extract may improve overall cholesterol for obese people.

The results were published in the November 2011 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.

Participants in the study included 20 obese adults with a BMI between 30 and 40 kg/m2 and ages ranging from 20 to 50 years old.

For 7 weeks, all of the participants consumed a prepared diet consisting of 35% energy from fat, 20% from protein, 45% from carbohydrate and 14 g of fiber.

After week one, half of the group also consumed a strawberry powder which contained the equivalent of four frozen strawberries in a milkshake, yogurt, cream cheese, or beverage for three weeks. The other half consumed a strawberry flavored placebo mixed in the same products. For the remaining three weeks, the groups traded interventions.

Blood was collected at the onset of the study, after 8 days, and at the ends of weeks 3, 4, 6, and 7.

The researchers noted that after 3 weeks of consuming the strawberry extract powder, participants showed reduced plasma concentrations of small HDL cholesterol particles. They also showed larger LDL particle size.

This study builds on the findings of a study involving strawberry powder supplementation that was conducted last year by researchers from Oklahoma State University. That study found that eight weeks of supplementation resulted in an 11% reduction in LDL cholesterol levels in obese people.

The researchers believe that the positive results seen here are a result of the fiber content of strawberries.

Previous studies have shown that strawberry consumption may help with the prevention of esophageal cancer, 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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