Studies are being conducted that may show strawberries give your body the nutrients (antioxidants, folate and potassium) it needs to maintain a healthy heart. Preliminary studies conducted by Gene Spiller, Ph.D., of the Sphera Foundation in Los Altos, Calif., show that eating strawberries helps maintain heart health by providing a good source of folate, a B vitamin that is important for cardiovascular health. Now Spiller is using these results to begin a more comprehensive study of strawberries and heart health.

A controlled study of 20 adults, conducted in 2003 by Spiller, demonstrated that the consumption of a serving of strawberries each day for four weeks increased blood levels of folate. Study participants also showed some reduction in C-reactive protein, a measure of artery-damaging inflammation. After eight weeks of eating a serving of eight strawberries each day, systolic blood pressure also declined by an average of four percent.

“The preliminary study in 2003 confirmed my hypothesis that strawberries increase levels of folate in the blood and may have a role in protecting the heart's arteries,” Dr. Spiller said. “I believe that future research will show that strawberries are an important factor in heart health, and a significant part of a healthy diet.”

The California Strawberry Commission also supports a study by Howard D. Sesso, Ph.D., et. al. at the Harvard School of Public Health. This study examines the prospective association between baseline strawberry consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease.