“It has been many years since I have eaten freely at my choice, fair one, and a plate of strawberries is all that I desire”.
– Mark Blackthorn”.
The sight of a juicy red coloured strawberry is quite enticing. This bright red coloured fruit is the world’s most widely consumed berry. These berries not only taste good but also offer a plethora of health benefits that practically aid almost every body part. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols as well as vitamin C and fibre. These elements benefit the skin and hair health, enable optimum digestion and even aid in weight loss. This wonder berry can even be useful in supporting heart health and preventing a number of cancers. Indulge your taste buds by eating a handful of these bright coloured luscious berries and breeze your way to optimum health and wellness.
Interesting Facts About Strawberries
- The word strawberry is derived from an ancient English word “Streawberige”, as the plant has runners that mimic straw pieces.
- Strawberries were sold commercially from the Renaissance era in Europe.
- As per some records. Strawberries were cultivated and consumed by Massachusetts natives as early as 1643.
- The strawberry fruit is a native to North America.
- Strawberries plantations cover an area of over 25,000 acres annually in California which is its largest producer in the US.
- June-bearing strawberries, Everbearing strawberries, Day-neutral strawberries are some of the popular strawberries.
Health Benefits & Uses of Strawberries
1. Shields the Heart Against Ailments
Strawberries are abundant in antioxidants and polyphenols that help shield heart from varied disorders. The anthocyanins, which are antioxidants responsible for strawberries’ red colour offer protection to the circulatory system lining. This action protects the arteries from plague accumulation as well as management of blood pressure.
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, an eminent cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City claims that women who ate three or more servings of strawberries every week reduced the risk of getting a heart attack by a third.
How to Use: Boost your heart health with this yummy strawberry banana smoothie. In a blender combine strawberries, banana, walnuts, milk, orange juice and chia seeds. Add a little liquid for desired texture. Top it with frozen dried fruit and enjoy!
2. Balances Blood Sugar Levels
The ellagic acid and antioxidants slow the digestion of starchy and sugary foods which in turn controls the levels of blood sugar after a starch dominant meal. Type 2 diabetes patients also benefit as their blood glucose levels are kept under check. The sharp sugar spikes experienced by diabetics are controlled by the low glycaemic index of strawberries. Strawberries also contain fibre which regulates blood sugar levels.
A clinical study led by Yves Desjardins, Universite Laval presented at the International Strawberry Symposium at the Quebec City Convention Centre revealed that regular intake of about one cup of strawberries can enable management of blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
How to Use: Make a diabetic friendly antioxidant rich super berry smoothie by blending strawberries, raspberries and blackberries with baby spinach leaves, protein powder and pomegranate juice.
3. Fights Cancer
The vitamin C and fibre content of strawberries protect from cancers of colon and oesophagus. The American Institute for Cancer Research has attributed the presence of ellagic acid, a phytochemical for the anticancer properties of strawberries.
4. Enhances Immunity
Strawberries are rich sources of vitamin C which act as a trigger for immune boosting antibodies. This gives the body the much-needed capability to fight infections.
According to a research study conducted by a team of South African doctors, vitamin C supplementation enhanced the immunoglobulin concentration, an antibody which is a major part of the immune system.
5. Enhances Brain Health
The high amounts of antioxidants contained in strawberries shield the brain cells from free radical damage. They also manage to alter the mode in which the brain neurons communicate with each other which results in enhanced brain health.
Harvard researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted a study which revealed that eating strawberries can delay memory degradation in older women. This benefit is due to the presence of flavonoids present in strawberries. Furthermore, the study also concluded that increased consumption of anthocyanidins also delayed memory decline.
6. Treats Inflammation
Vitamin C in strawberries play a significant role in fighting and preventing inflammation. Symptoms of arthritis and gout are also relieved by the vitamin C content in strawberries.
Strawberries contain quercetin whose intake along with daily exercise can lessen atherosclerosis plaque formation. This was validated by a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts.
Furthermore, according to a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, women who ate 16 or more number of strawberries every seven days had a 14 percent reduced chance to have higher levels of C-reactive protein which can cause inflammation.
7. Fights Cholesterol
Pectin, a soluble fibre contained in strawberries is capable of lowering the LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body. A New Orleans study has claimed that soluble fibres like pectin can lower LDL levels. Furthermore, a Canadian study has proved that strawberries are efficient in lowering oxidative damage as well as LDL levels.
How to Use: Make a strawberry banana oatmeal smoothie by blending 1 cup skim milk, ½ cup rolled oats, 1 cup fresh strawberries, 1 banana, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, some honey to taste (optional) along with few cubes of ice. Oats are the healthiest grains which are fibre rich as well as help lower bad cholesterol levels. This smoothie will hence give you the added benefits of oats along with the goodness of strawberries in fighting cholesterol.
8. Enhances Vision
The antioxidants contained in strawberries prevent cataract, macular degradation and other eye ailments.
A study conducted by Oregon Health & Science University researchers has claimed that the vitamin C contained in strawberries can enhance the functioning as well as prolong life of retinal cells.
9. Helps in Weight Loss
Strawberries contain ellagic acid and antioxidants which are key elements in losing weight. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberries help restore the normal functioning of weight loss hormones. Furthermore, anthocyanins catalyse the production of hormone adiponectin that supports metabolism and controls hunger. It is also believed to induce fat burn.
According to Monica Bertoia, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, consuming high flavonoid fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, berries and peppers can prove to be useful in weight -loss.
How to Use: Make a strawberry banana smoothie by adding just a banana, a few strawberries and milk into a blender and blend it until smooth. A 12-ounce serving contains only about 210 calories, low amounts of fats and up to 16 grams of protein.
10. Promotes Skin Health
The alpha-hydroxy acid contained in strawberries removes dead skin cells as well as cleanses the skin.
A study conducted by Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Pennsylvania found out that signs of aging can be reversed by treatments with alpha hydroxy acids.
How to Use: Mix strawberry paste with honey and apply the paste to the face every morning. Leave the mask for about 15 minutes and rinse off with cold water.
Also Read: Kiwi Benefits | Pomegranate Uses
Nutritional Value of Strawberries
From the above discussion we can easily gauge that strawberry is a wonder fruit having numerous benefits. These benefits can be attributed to the high nutritional value of strawberry enlisted below:
A cup of fresh strawberries contains 49 calories, 7 grams of sugar, zero fats and 3 grams of fibre.
|Nutrients||Amount||% Daily Value (DV)|
|Vitamin C||84.67 mg||113|
|Vitamin B6||0.07 mg||4|
|Omega 3 Fats||0.09 g||4|
Also Read: Calories In Strawberries
Risks While Consuming Strawberries
- While side effects or risks for eating excess strawberries is unaccounted for, it is best to not over consume them when pregnant or breastfeeding
- Eat strawberries with caution if suffering from bleeding disorders as this berry might prolong bleeding time can cause bruising in vulnerable individuals
- Avoid consuming strawberries at least 2 weeks prior to a scheduled surgery as the berry can slow blood clotting.
How to Consume Strawberries
Tips While Purchasing Strawberries
- You should buy strawberries which are bright red in colour, are firm and plump and having green intact covers.
- Both overripe and underripe strawberries have lower levels of Vitamin C as well as phytonutrients
- While buying packaged strawberries, ensure that they are not tightly packed as there is a risk of damage to them.
Ways to Enjoy Strawberries
Strawberries are most commonly used in desserts and ice creams. Strawberry extract is used as preservatives in many products. Strawberries are sweet and juicy and can be also consumed in their raw form.
1. In Salads
You can add strawberry slices to mixed green salad to make it more colourful and tasty
2. As Part of Parfait Dessert
Arrange sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and natural yogurt in layers in a wide glass such as a wine glass to make a parfait dessert
3. As Part of Coulis Sauce
Blend strawberries with orange juice to make delicious coulis sauce
4. Chicken and Strawberry Salad
Combine sweet strawberries, piquant vinaigrette, chicken and blue cheese to come up with a yummy salad
5. Strawberry Shake
Mix about two scoops of vanilla ice-cream with strawberry syrup and mix the contents in a blender. Pour the blended mixture in a tall glass and top it with slices of strawberry.
6. Strawberry Tea
Add tea powder and a cup of strawberries to boiling water. Cover and let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes. Add ice cubes and sugar as per need to the strained tea. Serve the drink by garnishing it with strawberry slices.
Alternatively, strawberry leaves can also be infused in tea.
Some Fun Facts about Strawberry
- Strawberries were discovered in Rome in 234 BC.
- Belgium has a museum dedicated only to strawberries
- About 200 seeds are present on a normal sized strawberry
- It is believed that strawberries with sour cream were served to newly wed couples as breakfast for their apparent aphrodisiac effects
- Delaware celebrates May 21-27 as ‘Strawberry Week’ on an annual basis
- Every US state and Canadian province cultivates strawberries
We have discovered that strawberries not only tickle our taste buds but also have numerous health benefits. This delectable berry is versatile enough to be used in numerous recipes of salads, dairy products and other sweet preparations. Loaded with many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, strawberry is the wonder berry that offers benefits for the entire body.