Long ago, strawberries first appeared in ancient Rome and eventually spread to France, where they’re still, to this very day, regarded as an aphrodisiac.
Throughout the world, love for this magnificent, heart-shaped berry is known.
Strawberries aren’t only delicious; these little red gems have some incredible health benefits.
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Strawberries are, oddly, not actually berries but an aggregate accessory fruit in the rose family, as well as the only fruit whose seeds are completely visible from the outside.
There are a variety of strawberry types being cultivated around the world, including various colors and levels of sweetness.
You will even find strawberries used in a vast variety of recipes – and not just for cooking! No wonder the strawberry has been nicknamed “the queen of fruits.”
Strawberry Nutritional Value
Ever wondered how much wholesome goodness is packed into a single strawberry? Every fruit has vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and flavonoids that are vital to everyday health.
A single cup serving of strawberries is only 50 calories, has 1 gram of protein, and 11 grams of healthy carbohydrates (9 grams of those being naturally occurring fructose sugars). Strawberries are a fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free fruit.
As for vitamins, did you know that one serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange? You get about 160% of the RDA.
Aside from vitamin C, strawberries also contain essential folates, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and phytonutrients. Furthermore, strawberries are a rich source of potassium (about 170% of the RDA) and calcium.
13 Strawberry Health Benefits
There are many reasons to load your shopping cart with these heart-shaped berries. Check out some of the best health benefits of strawberries to be sure of it:
1. Cardiovascular health
Perhaps there is meaning to the strawberry being red and heart-shaped. Strawberries, after all, are one of the best fruits for cardiovascular health.
First, the ellagic acid and flavonoids improve the overall health of the heart. Other components keep blood flow strong. Lastly, strawberries also counteract bad cholesterol (LDL), lowering the risk of heart disease.
The vitamin B family found in strawberries also strengthens the cardiac muscles, aiding in better heart functioning.
2. Blood pressure regulation
The potassium in strawberries is proven to aid in regulating blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.
Potassium is a vasodilator, so it lowers the rigidity of arteries and blood vessels. By reducing your sodium intake and adding strawberries to your diet, you can effectively lower your blood pressure.
3. Anti-inflammatory properties
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, and more, then strawberries should be a part of your diet.
Why? Being rich in antioxidants and other compounds, strawberries reduce overall inflammation. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, strawberries can also lower the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).
Additionally, strawberries can reduce the effects of arthritis. A lot of joint mobility issues have to do with the degeneration of muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the joints, as well as the collection of toxic substances like uric acid. When too much of these acids gather, arthritis and gout can occur. However, strawberries clean out these harmful substances.
Simply put, if you want to regulate inflammation or reduce arthritis pain, buy strawberries ASAP.
4. Weight loss
For those who are looking to drop a few pounds, you are in luck! Strawberries are low in calories, fat-free, and are also one of the fruits with lower fructose levels.
Plus, the phytochemicals, nitrates, and fiber will not only keep you feeling fuller longer, you also promote healthier blood flow through the body, so you can work out longer too.
5. Bone health
Potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamin K are all essential to maintaining bone health from childhood to old age.
If you are worried about osteoporosis and want to stave off shrinking as you get older, strawberries can help keep your bones strong (along with diet and exercise).
6. Eye health
Many eye problems that impair vision over the years are actually related to free radicals or caused by a deficiency in the appropriate nutrients.
Strawberries happen to have the very nutrients that are required for keeping eyes bright as well as deterring the onset of age-related issues like dry eyes, optic nerve degeneration, macular degeneration, and eye infections, such as pink eye. Strawberries have also been noted to reduce ocular pressure.
One of the biggest reasons strawberries are considered a superfood is because they are loaded with cancer-fighting compounds.
Vitamin C, folate, quercetin, kaempferol, and anthocyanins are just a few of the flavonoids found in strawberries that are known anti-carcinogens. A daily serving of strawberries has also been connected to reducing the presence and metastasis of cancer cells.
8. Prenatal care
The folate in strawberries is a crucial component in the early stages of pregnancy, and many women are not getting enough of it.
Folate helps develop the baby’s brain, spinal cord, and nerves; in other words, folate is essential to preventing disabilities and other birth defects like spina bifida.
Collagen is a buzzword in the beauty and health world right now. If you want to boost your natural collagen producing capabilities, add strawberries to your diet.
The extra vitamin C will aid the body in making more collagen while simultaneously fighting free radicals.
10. Skin cleanser
Did you know that most anti-acne products on the market contain salicylic acid, which comes directly from strawberries?
Being that strawberries are rich in salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and vitamin C, these little fruits are perfect for skin cleansers, since the acids remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, reduce oil, and brightens the skin.
All you need to do is mash up some berries, mix with sour cream and apply the mask to your face for 10 minutes. Buh-bye blemishes!
11. Brain function
Decreased brain function is often related to the deleterious effects of free radicals.
Brain tissues rapidly degenerate, causing issues like memory loss, dementia, and lack of coordination. Strawberries, however, have just the ingredients you need to stay mentally young.
Aside from the vitamin C and phytochemicals that neutralize free radicals, strawberries have folate and iodine, which are needed for proper brain functioning.
12. Alopecia treatment
Thanks to the high content of ellagic acid in strawberries, noshing on a handful or so can prevent your shower drain from getting clogged with hair. The presence of folate and vitamin B6 also aid in the prevention of hair loss (alopecia) and thinning.
13. Teeth health
Have stained teeth from all that coffee you drink in the morning to get going? Strawberries, thanks to the presence of salicylic acid and malic acid, not only act as a natural bleaching agent, eating them (or using them as a scrub) can even remove plaque and surface stains.
Simply mush up a strawberry, mix that pulp with some baking soda, and scoop a generous amount onto your toothbrush. Scrub for several minutes then rinse thoroughly before continuing on with your regular brushing. Repeat twice a month, and you will definitely notice a whiter smile!
Now that you know the benefits, there are some things to keep in mind when adding more strawberries to your diet. Let’s have a look.
What if I am Intolerant to Strawberries?
If you are like me, the author, you might have a very rare strawberry allergy that can cause allergic symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, hives or, worse, anaphylaxis. I learned that I have this intolerance the hard way—by eating one too many strawberries and developing horrendous rashes. However, I can still eat strawberries in some jelly, yogurt, or dessert, but I need to limit the amount drastically.
If you know that you have issues with strawberries, there are ways to still get their benefits without dealing with the seriously itchy side effects. You can substitute in other berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries if you know you are only allergic to strawberries.
What should I look for when buying strawberries?
Strawberries are available in a number of forms. You can grow your own strawberries on a plant in your home and have an endless supply, or you can pick up a fresh carton from your local grocer. Furthermore, you might find strawberries in jams, jellies, drinks, yogurts, and frozen. Remember, though strawberries make for delicious spreads and desserts, they can quickly become a sugar bomb when used as ingredients this way.
Always buy fresh (and local) or frozen when you can. Buying local means that they are picked when they are fresh and have fully developed their flavor. Also, buy in season. Imported strawberries are picked before they are completely ripe and won’t have their fullest flavor.
Always look for bright red berries. If there is any white around the stem, the berry wasn’t picked at peak freshness.
Also, don’t worry about the shape. The shape has nothing to do with flavor. But you do want to watch out for discolored seeds or anything that could look like fungus or rot.
On that note, because the seeds on strawberries easily absorb contaminants and chemicals from pesticide sprays, you should always purchase organic strawberries when possible. Though organic berries don’t differ in flavor, at least you know you won’t be nullifying your health efforts by consuming pesticides.
Fresh or frozen, strawberries are delightful gems of health. Alongside a number of nutritional highlights, strawberries can also make you look as good as you feel when used in DIY beauty recipes. Be sure to add the queen of fruit to your grocery list, so you too can feel like royalty.
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