As we continue to discover more about the amazing health benefits of natural ingredients, and the power of modifying our diet for our well-being, fruit — especially red berries — have long been the focus of study. Strawberries are now ranked among the top 50 foods that contain anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. From their sweet flavor to bright color to versatility, strawberries are a natural remedy with a wide range of health-giving properties. They’ve often been called a superfruit. Research has shown that strawberry extracts can reduce the risks of heart disease and lower the risk for type 2 diabetes, promote cell regeneration, and reduce the risk for degenerative diseases.
Now natural healing has a new star in the strawberry pantheon, an even more powerful variety of strawberry called the Nerina (Fragaria nerina). Developed to maximize the potency of beneficial ingredients, it packs a wallop. In terms of its nutritional properties: a Nerina strawberry has 18 times more the antioxidant anthocyanin than a typical table strawberry, and thus it holds incredible promise in the world of nutraceuticals.
The name, Nerina, reflects its appearance: it’s a small, compact morsel, so dark it’s a deep, purple-black: in Italian, Nero (black) and –ina, (small). This particular variety is no accident: it was selectively cultivated — not for farmer’s market qualities, such as bright color and super-sweet flavor, but for a far denser concentration of its key health-giving ingredients: beneficial phyotchemicals.
A Nerina strawberry hearkens back to smaller and darker wild strawberries, but it’s an entirely natural result of careful agricultural and horticultural science, not genetic modification: these are not genetically modified. Rather the Nerina variety is the culmination of time-honored methods of naturally selective breeding, the same way framers have done it for thousands of years.
Packed with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories
A closer look at the berry reveals even more advantages. In terms of beneficial polyphenols, Nerina strawberries contain 70 grams per kilogram, as opposed to typical table strawberries, which contains only 11.5 grams per kilogram. Nerinas also contain 10.6 grams per kilogram of anthocyanins, while typical table strawberries contain 0.6 grams per kilogram. These ingredients are powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories.
But it may well be the particular synergy of the ingredients as they’re found in strawberries that produces an even more profound health benefit than in other forms of antioxidants. One study discovered that strawberry extracts were more effective than vitamin anti-oxidants in protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation, a key factor in the risk of heart disease. Another study found that strawberries and other berries bolstered the body’s glucose response, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Officially being introduced on May 5, the Nerina Strawberry was developed by the Italian medicinal plant company, Iprona —the largest processor of elderberries in the world, and a firm that focuses on the health benefits of red fruits. The strawberry extract will be available as a powder or liquid, both of which can be mixed with water, or incorporated into cooking, drinks, or other commercial products, and will be marketed through BerryPharma. However it’s used, and whatever its form, the unique potency of Nerina Strawberry extract will undoubtedly add to our appreciation of what natural foods can do for our health.