Strawberry Surprise – The After Dinner Must


Strawberry Beverage Reduces Post-Meal Inflammation
According to researchers at Illinois Institute of Technology and University of California-Davis, a beverage that  included nutritional compounds derived from strawberries was successful in reducing markers of postprandial (post-meal) inflammation and insulin response.

The study followed the reactions of 24 overweight people following a meal consisting of high carbohydrate and moderate fat content. Meals of this composition have previously been shown to induce inflammation and insulin response. Participants were randomized into two groups: the first included a strawberry-derived beverage in the meal, and the second included a placebo beverage, instead.

Over a six-hour timeframe, insulin levels and a series of established inflammation markers were assessed, which included C-reactive protein (CRP); interleukin-6 (IL-6), -10, and -18; monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; and tumor necrosis factoralpha. Researchers also monitored the presence of two compounds found in strawberries that the rest of the meal could not supply.

Analyzing the responses of the test group versus the placebo control, these assessments showed that the strawberry beverage increased plasma levels of both strawberry compounds, stimulated an average CRP response that was 13-percent lower than placebo, and an average IL-6 response that was 25-percent lower than placebo. In addition, average insulin response in the test group was also lower.

Researchers pointed out that “these data suggest an anti-inflammatory role of strawberry with a time course of action that is delayed relative to the antioxidant effects of strawberry.” In other words, they feel that the direct action of antioxidants was not the mechanism for the response observed in this study.

Impact Factor

Favorable aspects: The study examined the effects of a beverage made from whole strawberries, rather than compounds isolated from strawberries and administered without the rest of the fruit. The measurements were carried out within accepted statistical norms, presenting a mathematically valid analysis. The participants were randomized into groups and the study was placebo-controlled.

Scope of impact : Research continues to accumulate on the destructive effects of chronic inflammation in our bodies. Hypertension, atherosclerosis, obesity, arthritis, insulin resistance, and several autoimmune diseases are associated with chronic inflammation. Although this study does not directly link strawberry consumption to any of these, the

overall concept of reducing inflammation is significant in overall health. The observed reduction in insulin response directly impacts management of the various forms of diabetes and related conditions.

Weakness factors: Although the study recorded measurable, statistically meaningful effects of the strawberry tonic, it did not address the issue of ideal dosage and specific conditions for use. It could be that inducing the desired effect may require many pounds of strawberries. In fact, the researchers themselves pointed out the need for more study on the subject, stating “the antioxidant/inflammatory effects of strawberry derived compounds need to be studied further to reconcile the difference in the time course of the changes in glucose, insulin, and oxidative stress/inflammatory markers observed in plasma.”

What should you do: This study underscores the health value of eating strawberries. If you are a diabetic that is limiting fruit consumption, you may decide to try adding strawberries back into your diet with meals—but keep an eye on the blood-sugar meter; that is still the gold standard in diabetes management.

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