The strawberry, a fruit that features a fragrantly sweet flavor, is the most popular type of berry fruit in the world. While there are more than 600 varieties of strawberries that differ in flavor, size and texture, one can usually identify a strawberry by its red flesh that has yellow seeds piercing its surface, and the small, regal, green leafy cap and stem that adorn its crown. In addition to strawberries that are cultivated, there are also varieties that grow wild. These are much smaller in size, but feature a more intense flavor.
Health Benefits of Strawberry
- Eye Care: The primary reasons for almost all the problems of eyes are free radicals and deficiency of certain nutrients. With the growing age and lack of these protective nutrients, the harmful oxidants or free radicals cast heavy damage on our eyes, such as drying up of eyes, degeneration of optical nerves, Macular degeneration, vision defects and make them prone to infections too. The anti oxidants such as vitamin-C, Flavonoids, Phenolic Phytochemicals and Elagic Acid, present in strawberries can help avoid this situation to a great extent. One more factor is ocular pressure, i.e. the pressure of the eyes. Any disturbance in it is also harmful for the eyes. Here too, strawberries are helpful as they contain potassium, which help maintain right pressure.
- Arthritis and Gout: The degeneration of muscles and tissues, drying up of the fluid which help mobility of the joints and accumulation of toxic substances and acids (such as uric acid) in the body are some of the ill effects of free radicals present in our body, which are primarily responsible for Arthritis and Gout. Strawberries, with their team of anti oxidants and detoxifiers, can effectively help push away such health hazards forever. It is a famous saying in India that a serving of any fruit a day will remove the rust from the joints. It is very true for strawberries.
- Cancer: Vitamin-C, Folate and Anthocyanin, Quercetin and Kaempferol (few of the many Flavonoids in strawberries which possess excellent anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic properties) together form an excellent team to fight cancer and tumor. A daily intake of strawberries is seen to have remarkably brought down the growth of cancerous cells.
- Brain Function: It is a very common observation that old people tend to lose their memory and control over their activities, limbs etc. This is because of aging of their brain and the nervous system. Actually, the free radicals, the agents very much responsible for aging, have a very adverse effect on these systems. Due to them, the brain tissues start degenerating and the nerves get weaker. Strawberries can help you out. The vitamin-C and the phytochemicals in them neutralize the effect of these oxidants and also rejuvenate the system. One more thing, strawberries are rich in iodine too, which is very helpful for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
- High Blood Pressure: Strawberries are very good in potassium and magnesium content, both of which are very effective in lowering high blood pressure caused by sodium.
- Heart Diseases: High fiber, Folate, no fats and high anti oxidants such as vitamin-C and those phytochemicals (Flavonoids) together form an ideal cardiac health pack, as they effectively reduce cholesterol. Some of the members of the vitamin-B family present in strawberries also strengthen the cardiac muscles and help better functioning of the heart.
- Other Benefits: Folate is known to protect from birth-defects. Vitamin-C effectively prevents from infections and cold. The phytonutrients also have anti inflammatory properties. Wait! I forgot to tell you about the best benefit. The strawberry preserve tastes just awesome.
The benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds, including strawberries, are infinite. As plant food consumption goes up, the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer goes down.
High fruit and vegetable intake is also associated with healthy skin and hair, increased energy, and lower weight. Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables significantly decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality.
1) Heart Disease
Regular consumption of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids found in berries, can reduce the risk of a heart attackby 32% in young and middle-aged women, according to lead study author Aedin Cassidy, PhD, MSc, BSc, a nutritionat the Norwich Medical School in the United Kingdom. Women who consumed at least 3 servings of strawberries or blueberries per week fared best in the Harvard study.
The flavonoid quercetin, contained in strawberries, is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in animal studies. Quercetin may have the additional bonus of anti-cancer effects; however more studies are needed using human subjects before these results can be confirmed.
The high polyphenol content in strawberries may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure via anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Other studies have shown that eating strawberries helps to lower homocysteine levels, an amino acid in the blood associated with damaging the inner lining of arteries.1
The fiber and potassium in strawberries also support heart health. In one study, participants who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).
The antioxidants quercetin, kaempferol, and anthocyanins have all been shown to reduce the formation of harmful blood clots associated with strokes. High potassium intakes have also been linked with a reduced risk of stroke.5
As mentioned above, strawberries contain powerful antioxidants that work against free radicals, inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation in the body.
4) Blood Pressure
Due to their high potassium content, strawberries are recommended to those with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body. A low potassium intake is just as big of a risk factor in developing high blood pressure as a high sodium intake.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation for potassium.
Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.
Eating foods that are high in water content and fiber like strawberries, grapes, watermelon and cantaloupe can help to keep you hydrated and your bowel movements regular. Fiber is essential for minimizing constipation and adding bulk to the stool.
6) Allergies and Asthma
Because of the anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin, consuming strawberries may help to alleviate symptoms of allergies including runny nose, watery eyes and hives, although there have been no human studies done to prove this theory. Several studies have shown that the incidence of asthma is lower with a high intake of certain nutrients, vitamin C being at the top of the list.
Strawberries are a low glycemic index food and high in fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows. Strawberries are a smart fruit choice for diabetics, as they have a lower glycemic index (40) than many other fruits do.
Researchers discovered in 2011 that eating about 37 strawberries a day can significantly reduce diabetic complications such as kidney disease and neuropathy. The study showed that fisetin, a flavonoid contained in abundance in strawberries, promoted survival of neurons grown in culture and enhanced memory in healthy mice, along with prevention of both kidney and brain complications in diabetic mice.
Adequate folic acid intake is essential for pregnant women to protect against neural tube defects in infants.
Folate may also help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body, which can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. Excess homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate not only mood, but sleep and appetite as well.
Serving Size: 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (166 grams)
- Calories: 50
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 11.65 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 3.81 grams
- Calcium: 23.24 mg
- Iron: 0.63 mg
- Magnesium: 16.60 mg
- Phosphorus: 31.54 mg
- Potassium: 44.82 mg
- Selenium: 1.16 mg
- Vitamin C: 94.12 mg
- Folate: 29.38 mcg
- Vitamin A: 44.82 IU
This nutritional powerhouse also contain the mighty antioxidants anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin and kaempferol, which all have been shown to have protective effects against certain types of cancer.