Strawberries and the Sun – The Odd Connection

By: Bel Marra Health | Functional Foods | Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 02:33 AM

 fruitsDiets that are rich in fruits and vegetables are known to have good health benefits and new research is showing that one fruit, in particular, may provide an added good health benefit as well. Strawberries may help to protect against the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, according to a new study published in the Journal of Agriculture Food Chemistry.

These Fruits and Their Contribution to Good Health

The researchers added strawberry extract (0.05 milligrams per millimeter, 0.25 milligrams per millimeter and 0.5 milligrams per millimeter) to skin cell cultures.  They then exposed these cultures to UV light which was equivalent to 90 minutes of mid-day summer sun exposure.  The researchers found that the skin cultures that were exposure to strawberry extract, especially in the highest concentration (0.5 milligrams per millimeter) had decreased DNA damage and increased cell survival and viability when compared to the control cultures.

The good health benefits of strawberry extract may be due to the presence of anthocyanins.  Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties and are also capable of modulating enzymatic processes according to Sara Tulipani who is a researcher from the University of Barcelona.  However, she also states that they have not discovered a direct relationship between the presence of anthocyanins and the protective properties of the extract from these fruits.

Future Research on Strawberry Fruits

The researcher acknowledge that this research is the first step to identify the protective roll of incorporating strawberries into our diets or by adding the fruits extract to skin care products.  The researchers stress that this research was conducted in a lab, using skin cultures only.  They state that further research needs to investigate whether the extract from strawberries will provide viable protection from the sun.  Additionally, future research needs to investigate the form by which it will offer these good health benefits.  Currently it is unknown if the extract needs to be applied to the skin directly or whether it can be consumed in our diets to obtain the good health benefits.

While we wait to see what future research uncovers about strawberry extract and sun protection, we should add strawberries into our diets.  Adding fruits and vegetables, including strawberries into our diets is a good idea as they provide a multitude of good health benefits.  Many fruits, including strawberries contain high levels of Vitamin C which has anti-oxidant properties which help to prevent free radical damage.  The anti-oxidants also help to reduce inflammation in the body.  Strawberries also contain a moderate amount of potassium which may help to regulate blood pressure.  As is the case with many fruits and vegetables, strawberries provide an adequate source of fiber and help to maintain optimal digestion.   Fiber can also help maintain proper blood sugar levels within the body because it helps to slow the digestion of sugar in the blood.  Adding strawberries to our diets is a simple, low calories option that will provide many health benefits and may even help to protect us from the sun.  Grab a handful or two and enjoy!

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