Got Diabetes? – Eat More Strawberries

July 11, 2011

Wimbledon may be over, but we are still in the wonderful English strawberry season and now there is a powerful health reason to eat more of them. A recent study from scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies suggests that a strawberry a day could lessen the complications of diabetes. Or more accurately, the fisetin they contain as this naturally-occurring flavonoid is found most abundantly in strawberries.

Fisetin is a naturally-occurring flavonoid found most abundantly in strawberries, and to a lesser extent in other fruits and vegetables, and has been found to be able to target multiple organs. This research describes for the first time a drug that prevents both kidney and brain complications in a type 1 diabetes model and strongly suggests that a single drug could be used to mitigate numerous medical complications.

Fisetin was originally identified as a neuroprotective flavonoid ten years ago and in plants it act as sunscreen and protects leaves and fruit from insects. The types of fruit and vegetables containing fisetin are found in the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ and contribute to the protective effect of that regime.

The researchers evaluated effects of fisetin supplementation with reference to the serious complications of diabetes such as diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease, retinopathy, and neuropathies in which patients lose touch or heat sensations. Improvements were seen, but remember that to achieve a similar effect you would need to eat 37 strawberries a day so let’s hope they manage to turn the fisetin into a supplement form fairly soon.

Interestingly, the fisetin was also effective in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease so there is certainly more research to be done.

In the meantime what about a strawberry and blueberry smoothie to get the maximum fisetin into your system in a palatable way?


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