Strawberry Beverage May Reduce Chronic Inflammation


Chronic inflammation, which is associated with cardiovascular disease and other serious health conditions, may be reduced by consuming a strawberry beverage. Obese subjects who drank the beverage along with a high-carb, moderate-fat meal had lower levels of inflammatory markers.

Strawberries contain anti-inflammatory compounds

Chronic inflammation has been linked to diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, arthritis, osteoporosis, and heart disease, therefore finding effective ways to manage or reduce this risk factor can have far-reaching effects. Efforts have included methods to reduce known inflammatory markers, which include C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-10, and IL-18.

The new study, led by Britt Burton-Freeman of Illinois Institute of Technology, enrolled 24 obese individuals who were fed a high-carbohydrate, moderate-fat meal, which causes inflammation and insulin responses. Participants also were randomly assigned to consume either a strawberry beverage or a placebo drink.


Six hours later, subjects who drank the strawberry beverage showed a 25 percent reduced level of IL-6 and a 13 percent lower level of C-reactive protein when compared with individuals who consumed placebo. These declines in inflammatory markers were accompanied by significant increases in pelargonidin sulfate and pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside, two strawberry compounds.

Strawberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, including anthocyanins (e.g., cyanidins, perlargonidins), flavonols (e.g., catechins, epicatechins, quercetin), hydroxyl-benzoic acids (e.g., ellagic acid, salicylic acid), and resveratrol.

The study’s authors note that the responses they observed seem to be independent of possible antioxidant effects. They stated 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.”

Therefore, although the strawberry beverage was effective in reducing markers of chronic inflammation, further research is needed to “reconcile the difference in the time course of the changes in glucose, insulin and oxidative stress/inflammatory markers observed in plasma.”

Edirisinghe I et al. British Journal of Nutrition; doi:10.1017/S0007114511001176