Science Catch-up. Strawberries To Relieve Inflammation?


by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.

Welcome to our Thursday Science Catch-up: curated links by The Health Sciences Academy. Get our email updates every other Thursday here (it’s free).

Let’s catch you up with studies and news that recently made the headlines!

Click on your favourite topics to read our summary:

1. Strawberries to relieve inflammation?

2. Tricked by wine and beer labelling?

3. Want to recall your dreams? Try this…

 

Strawberries to relieve inflammation?

Study link

With Wimbledon around the corner, you might be considering watching tennis matches with strawberries at hand – that’s the tradition here in the UK!

Well, I have good news to tell you about eating those delicious strawberries…

If you or someone you know is affected by inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, then stocking up on strawberries may be a tasty relief…

A recent study I came across talked about a major antioxidant found in strawberries with impressive anti-inflammatory properties.

Pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside (P3G) is a potent anti-inflammatory compound found in strawberries (Duarte et al., 2018).

The name of this compound: Pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside (P3G).

I was struck by the finding that P3G was able to decrease the levels of many inflammatory markers, which in turn reduces the number of white blood cells that are normally overflooding in inflammatory conditions.

Although white blood cells are important to fight infection, they can cause pain and swelling in individuals with inflammatory disorders.

While this study looked at the effects of strawberry extract, the scientists highlight that eating strawberries may also be beneficial given P3G’s effects on inflammation.

And I agree. Previous studies have shown an increase of P3G in blood plasma after eating strawberries.

P3G is a potent polyphenol in the anthocyanins family, and a natural colourant giving strawberries their dark-red tint (I tend to pick the darkest ones to get more of these compounds!).

So there you have it – another great reason why strawberries are named a functional food (aka “superfood”) in the scientific literature.

If you’re fascinated by science like this and you want to use it to help others or set up your own nutrition practice, be sure to book your seat in our hands-on Professional Nutrition Workshop by clicking here – it’s free to attend.

 

Tricked by wine and beer labelling?

Study link

While many people associate it with celebration, alcohol is the fifth leading cause of mortality globally

For that reason, labelling regulations are currently under debate. Intuitively, one would think that a label denoting lower levels of alcohol in a drink would reduce its consumption, right?

Well, apparently not…

According to new research, “low alcohol” labels may actually push us to drink more!

When I looked at the actual study, it was true that participants drank more wine and beer with the Super Low Strength label – and less with the Low Strength or Regular Strength labels.

Labelling alcoholic drinks as lower in strength increases the amount consumed (Vasiljevic et al., 2018).

All participants were allowed to sip their drinks for 10 minutes. But those who knew their drink had less alcohol sipped a lot more during that time!

Then I thought, if the regular-label drinks contained more alcohol, maybe they smelled and tasted stronger causing people to sip them more slowly?

A-ha! Here’s where things get more interesting…

Everyone in the experiment was given the same wine and beer, and only the labels were manipulated!

This is very clever. Keeping the drinks constant while swapping the labels around ensured that the varying drinking quantities weren’t influenced by drug-like cues.

I can envisage more studies like these coming up and testing label manipulation together with actual alcohol strength…

And for anyone out there getting weird marketing ideas from this, remember that the end goal here is to decrease consumption – not increase it!

For more information on how alcohol can affect your body, check out our article Can a Hangover Kill You?

 

Want to recall your dreams? Try this…

Study link

Are you troubled by nightmares? Would you like to have better control of your dreams?

If the answer is yes, then this is for you.

I’ve seen a lot of recent media reports saying that vitamin B6 helps people to recall their dreams…

But let me tell you: I hardly ever remember my dreams, despite consuming multiple B6-rich food sources (such as broccoli, peppers, and Brussels sprouts).

When I read the paper, however, I realised that the doses of vitamin B6 the researchers used were hundreds of times higher than the recommended dietary allowance!

Thankfully, their doses were just under the range where this vitamin may be toxic – so nobody was harmed.

Those were given a B6 mega-dose were better able to remember their dreams (Aspy, et al., 2018).

It was a great relief to see that the individuals who received the B6 mega-dose had better dream recall, without experiencing any negative effects on their sleep quality.

I wasn’t aware that recalling dreams had any potential benefits… But I was wrong.

In fact, better dream recall may potentially help reduce the occurrence of unpleasant dreams and nightmares…

And that means these findings may be a step towards improving our sleep quality.

Speaking of which, did you know that about one third of people get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep?

And not getting enough quality sleep can not only lead to poorer physical healthy but also decreased cognitive performance…

That’s why I’m excited to announce our brand-new Sleep Advisor certification where we’ll guide you through the latest science-based strategies that can help with getting the sleep that you or your clients need – click here to get notified when it goes live (plus a little surprise from me!).

 

 

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The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right Alex Ruani leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where she and her team make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for their students. She is a Harvard-trained scientist and UCL doctoral researcher who specialises in cravings and appetite neurobiology, nutrition biochemistry, and nutrigenomics. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition science, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free Science Catch-ups.
Connect with Alex via email.

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2 Comments

  • Okechukwu Gbaruko

    Reply Reply June 28, 2018

    Nice knowing about the B6 vitamin and how strawberry 🍓 provides good health

  • nagesh lingayat

    Reply Reply July 13, 2018

    Nice blog! Thanks for sharing such a blog.

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