Everybody's favourite red summer fruit can offer more than just a great refreshing desert or a seductive treat, it has some serious health benefits.
Strawberries can lower levels of cholesterol and harmful blood fat - if you eat enough of them, research has shown.
Scientists found that adding strawberries to the diets of 23 healthy volunteers significantly lowered the amount of "bad" cholesterol and triglyceride fat in their blood.
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But the participants had to consume 500 grams (17.6oz) of the fruits - equivalent to two average-sized punnets - every day for a month.
The findings, reported in the Journal Of Nutritional Biochemistry, showed that strawberries reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the harmful form of cholesterol, by nearly 14%.
Levels of "good" cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which has a healthy effect on arteries, were unchanged.
Other measurements of antioxidant activity, platelet function, and preservation of blood cells also improved.
Lead researcher Maurizio Battino, from the Universita Politecnica delle March in Italy, said: "This is the first time a study has been published that supports the protective role of the bioactive compounds in strawberries in tackling recognised markers and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases."
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