London: Eating strawberries regularly may help stave off ageing and even prevent cancer, a new study has claimed.
Researchers from Marche Polytechnic University in Italy and the University of Granada in Spain found that eating the fruit helps boost antioxidant levels in the blood. Higher levels of antioxidants have been found to combat the effects of oxidative stress, lessening the effects of ageing and even the chances of contracting diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, the Daily Mail reported.
For the study, the researchers fed healthy volunteers half a kilo of strawberries over two weeks. They took blood samples from volunteers after four,
eight, 12 and 16 days, and also a month later. The results, published in journal Chemistry, showed that eating the fruit regularly can boost levels of
antioxidants in the blood and also help prevent red blood cells undergoing haemolysis, a process which sees them fragmenting.
The power of strawberries lies in the high levels of phenolic compounds they contain, which have antioxidant properties, said the scientists. Oxidative stress can also occur as we age, when we exercise or even give birth, highlighting the potential of the humble soft fruit.
Study author Dr Maurizio Battino, of Marche Polytechnic University in Italy, said: "We have shown that some varieties of strawberries make erythrocytes more resistant to oxidative stress.This could be of great significance if you take into account that this phenomenon can lead to serious diseases."
The researchers now plan to investigate whether the similar benefits can come from eating a more manageable amount of strawberries, such as 150g or 200g, and also want to look at which varieties of strawberries contain the most antioxidants.