Eat three cups of strawberries a day and you’ve got a delicious way to reduce your risk of heart disease, according to new research.

When University of Toronto researchers asked 28 patients with heart disease risk factors to add three cups of strawberries to their cholesterol-lowering diet, the result was a 13% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol. Best of all, because everyone loves strawberries, patients were better able to stick with this diet than they might otherwise have been. In fact, patients rated the entire strawberry-enhanced diet an impressive 9 out of a possible 10 in terms of taste.

That’s great news given that strawberries are the top source of quercetin, a compound under study for reducing Alzheimer’s risk and supporting immunity. Lab studies demonstrated that strawberry extracts suppressed proliferation of colon, prostate and oral cancer cell cultures. Tufts researchers showed that strawberry-supplemented diets slowed, and even reversed, brain decline in animal studies. Like blood oranges, strawberries also contain the compound C3G which could help with weight management.

Published June 1, 2010