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Why strawberries are good for diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
How strawberries help fight heart disease and diabetes discovered.

If you’re looking for a natural way to lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes, consider adding strawberries to your daily diet. In new research scientists have discovered how strawberries work to promote cardiovascular health and prevent diabetes through an important protein pathway.

Strawberry extract stimulates protective proteins for diabetics

For the first time, Professor Paul Thornalley from Warwick Medical School and his team have shown that strawberry extract activates a protein in the body called ‘Nrf2’. The protein promotes heart health because when it’s activated it helps keep cholesterol lower.

Strawberries can help counteract blood sugar spikes that occur after eating a meal. A past study also found fisetin – a flavonoid found in strawberries – might help prevent type 1 and type 2 diabetes complications of kidney and brain disease that can lead to Alzheimer’s.

Thornalley said in a press release, “We’ve discovered the science behind how strawberries work to increase our in-built defenses to keep cells, organs and blood vessels healthy and which can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and diabetes.”

He recommends taking a no guilt approach to serving up the tasty fruit with just a little, or even better, no cream for maximum health benefits.

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Just like any ‘medicine’, you’ll want to know how many strawberries you need to eat to keep your heart healthy and diabetes at bay. The next step for the researchers is to find that out. Thornalley and his team will use screening and mathematical modeling techniques to find the best strawberry varieties and how many you should eat for maximum health benefits.

What else does Nrf2 do?

The Nrf2 protein has also been linked to lower chances of developing cancer. A 2008 study, published in the PNAS journal found anti-cancer and anti-aging benefits when the protein pathway is activated in the body; found in rodent studies.

In 2010, researchers writing in the journal PloS ONE found Nrf2 suppression in mice bred to develop prostate cancer. The authors wrote, that the finding “shed new light on the role of Nrf2 in carcinogenesis”, providing a “potential new directions for the detection and prevention of prostate cancer.”

Researchers now know how strawberries protect from heart disease and diabetes. Strawberry extract activates an important protein pathway that has become a ‘hot topic’ in recent years. The tasty berries activate Nrf2 that in turn mediates inflammation by stimulating an antioxidant response that could thwart diabetes and heart disease.

Warwick Medical School
July 4, 2012

Updated 5/28/2014



I am looking for ways that stabilize while also being able to have sweets.
Hi Patricia. It is okay to have sweets when you are diabetic, but you have to substitute them for something else. And it is important to have small portions. Dark chocolate is a very good thing for diabetes to satisfy a sweet tooth also. Even with fruit, it is about small portions and saving sweets for special occasions. If you think about it, that is what everyone should do anyone. We all need to focus on healthful foods and limit portions of starches and sweets. If you do overindulge with a piece of cake or other, take a walk. Do some exercise to stabilize your glucose. Everyone's portion size is different, depending on other lifestyle factors. I hope that helps?
Life isn't about getting to the end with a healthy body. Its about getting there, screeching in sideways , shouting ,man what a fulkin ride. Enjoy it.
Can't screech in sideways or shout if you have an unhealthy body...right?