Of strawberry wine and seventeen
The hot July moon saw everything
My first taste of love, oh bittersweet
The green on the vine, like strawberry wine
-From “Strawberry Wine” by Deanna Carter
I really do love strawberries, especially just popping them out of hand. As I thought of them, though, my male mind wandered to the “clinical” term for a certain kind of abrasion, usually attained during sports or playful roughousing. (Haven’t had “a strawberry” in a while. We do mellow, I guess. Somewhat wistfully).
Anyway, what I really want to share is something I’ve recently learned, and that’s that daily consumption of strawberries can do a body good — more than has been widely thought, apparently. Looks like an expansive, reputable study by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies suggests that the flavonoids inherent in strawberries are good for lots of stuff, including the effects of diabetes and nervous-system disorders. And even the prevention of cancers.
The study explains that fisetin, a top-dog flavonoid most abundant in strawberries, markedly mitigates the complications of diabetes. Basically, when tests were done on mice, it was found that fisetin helped keep alive culture-grown neurons, and improved tailed critters’ memories. Since fisetin can apparently multi-task organ wise, one day a single drug could be used to eradicate or lessen multiple complications of diabetes. (Other trendy flavonoids are found in blueberries and red wine).
For the first time, injection of fisetin in mice prevented both kidney and brain complications from Type 1 diabetes. The studies also revealed the likely molecular basis for revealing the therapy’s efficacy. In other words, scientists can track how the stuff is working.
That’s a lot of science speak, I know. But these are not frivolous illnesses. Fisetin might actually benefit a wide range of disorders presented by diabetic patients, including kidney disease, retinopathy and neuropathies.You know, there have been reports suggesting that diabetes is linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s, so if great-tasting strawberries could help… The fruit also has been shown to slow the onset of motor problems associated with Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
And… previous studies have shown that fisetin decreases some cancer cells — a big incentive to indulge, if you ask me (but ask your doctor, too). Overall, strawberries boost red blood cells, thereby improving antioxidant capacity. Heck, one cup contains roughly only 45 calories, and is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folate and other phytonutrients.
So whaddya know, another good-for-you food that’s damned tasty, to boot. First bred in Britanny, France around 1740, the oval, speckled strawberry improves almost any dish or beverage. Strawberry daiquiri, anyone? Or how about a simple relish that can be spooned onto grilled meat or fish: the berries, a li’l sugar, some OJ, dash of balsamic, pinch of allspice, a cinnamon stick, tablespoon olive oil, li’l salt and pepper, and some orange zest. Fabulous and healthful. And all ingredients in my stores, natch.
Course, you can always make the berries into preserves; dry them for, say, cereal bars; or toss them into yogurt or ice cream.
Bottom line: No knockin’ an apple a day, but strawberry du jour is a great idea, too.
Let’s stay healthy, people.