Eating strawberries may provide benefits to your health. Specifically, scientific evidence indicates strawberries affect several pathways related to heart health. Strawberries may also provide anti-cancer benefits, due to the antioxidants in them.
Strawberries may help lower cholesterol levels. A study published in December 2008 in "Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental" found that strawberries lowered the amount of low-density lipoprotein, or the "bad" cholesterol, in the blood in hyperlipidemic patients. Hyperlipidemia is a condition where the body is unable to regulate cholesterol levels. Since LDL is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, eating strawberries may reduce the risk level for these diseases.
There is some evidence that strawberries may prevent atherosclerosis, a condition where the arteries are hardened and lose function. Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of symptoms including excessive abdominal fat, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. A study published in July 2009 in "Nutrition Research" found that in obese people with metabolic syndrome, freeze-dried strawberry powder improved some of the risk factors for atherosclerosis. For example, it reduced the capacity of plaque to adhere to the walls of the vascular system.
Oxidative stress is a risk factor for disease, including that of the heart. Oxidative stress is caused by damage produced by free radicals, which are a natural byproduct of cellular metabolism. Free radicals attach to and damage or destroy healthy cells, which, over time leads to damage of the heart. Strawberries may help protect against this type of damage. A study published in September 2009 in the "Nutrition Journal" found that freeze-dried strawberry powder reduced oxidation in women with metabolic syndrome.
The antioxidant properties of strawberries may make them a useful treatment against cancer. A study published in 2008 in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" tested the antioxidant effects of strawberry extract on several different human cancer cells in vitro and found that it stopped their proliferation. The researchers found these effects on oral, colon and prostate cancer cells.