Many may know strawberries are jammed packed with antioxidants and vitamin C but a new study suggests the fruit may help prevent cardiovascular health issues. New evidence reveals strawberry extracts stimulate proteins that aid in the protection against diseases.

Lead author Paul Thornalley, a professor at the Warwick Medical School, located in the United Kingdom, has been studying the beneficial effects of consuming strawberries on one’s cardiovascular health, more specifically how they prevent the development of heart disease and diabetes.

Thornalley has discovered extracts from strawberries help activate the protein called "NrF2." The protein increases antioxidants while also helping to lower blood lipids and cholesterol, the exact things, which can lead to cardiovascular problems.

Previous research had shown that strawberries helped blocked glucose transport between tissue and helped reduced "bad" cholesterol, which would in turn lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Professor Thornalley states strawberries can increase our natural defenses which can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems.

Due in part to techniques developed at the University of Warwick, future research can help identify what type of strawberry provides the most value, if processing or serving methods affect the health properties of strawberries and the number of strawberries that can lead to the best possible health benefit.

Professor Thornalley says, "So don't feel guilty about serving up strawberries and cream … although I'd suggest more strawberries and less or even no cream!"

Professor Thornalley will be presenting the research at the forthcoming 16th biennial meeting for the Society for Free Radical Research International (SFRRI) at Imperial College London and all results should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.