- They're Not Berries
- High in Fiber
- Regulate Blood Sugar
- Prevent Cancer
- Manage Diabetes
- Improve Heart Health
- Source of Vitamin C
- Strawberry Recipes
Strawberries aren’t berries
Strawberries are a popular summertime treat. Whether you buy them from a stand or go to a pick-your-own berry patch, these small red fruits make for a delectable snack. You can eat them on their own, add them to smoothies, mix them with yogurt, or even use them as a topping for desserts like shortcakes.
The good news about strawberries is that they pack a big nutritional punch as well as an appealing taste. They’re loaded with nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants. and they are also a good source of fiber. The nutritional benefits of strawberries have led to them being labeled a superfood with the potential to improve your overall health.
Here are some things to bear in mind:
Despite the word berry being in the name, a botanist would tell you that a strawberry isn’t truly a berry at all. The technical term for a strawberry is a “pseudocarp” or false fruit. They are actually many tiny fruits in a single receptacle. The tiny seed-like specks all around the surface of the strawberry are the true fruits, and they’re called achenes.
Strawberries are high in fiber
The fibrous achenes that speckle the surface of strawberries are the reason that they are such a good source of dietary fiber. A cup of strawberries gives you 11% of your daily recommended value of fiber. Dietary fiber helps maintain good digestive health, but it's something that many people forget to consider when they plan their diets. Still, it can relieve constipation and lower the risk of colon conditions such as diverticular disease. Fiber consumption is also linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Strawberries may regulate blood sugar
In some studies, researchers found that eating strawberries after a meal helps regulate how the body digests glucose. The vivid red color may be linked to this effect. Strawberries get their pigment from anthocyanins, which are antioxidants known to have anti-inflammatory effects. The anti-inflammatory effect can improve how the body processes food to decrease the risk of insulin sensitivity.
Strawberries might prevent some cancers
Anthocyanins don’t just affect inflammatory responses. There is ongoing research to discover whether these antioxidants play a role in discouraging carcinogen growth in the body. Early results indicate that anthocyanin can inhibit cancer growth and the spread of cancer cells in the body. In addition, the phenolic acids in strawberries may protect against cellular mutations that lead to cancer. More research is needed to fully understand the caner-fight implications of strawberries, though.
Strawberries could help manage diabetes
Lab studies indicate that compounds in strawberries may be able to help people with type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar. Researchers found that compounds called ellagitannins and ellagic acid reduce the effects of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and high blood pressure associated with type 2 diabetes. Further research is needed to understand the connection, but early studies are promising.
Strawberries improve heart health
Some research suggests that antioxidants in strawberries might have cardiovascular benefits. In one study of the heart heat effects of strawberries, researchers had a small group of post-menopausal women consume strawberries daily over eight weeks. At the end of the study, the participants showed lower blood pressure, less arterial stiffness, and increased antioxidant effects. Another study had a group of obese participants consume strawberries over a 12-week period. The participants had lower cholesterol levels at the end of the study.
Strawberries are a source of vitamin C
All the old advice about vitamin C promoting good health is true. Vitamin C is famous for supporting the immune system to fight off illness. It’s also an antioxidant that can have anti-aging effects. Vitamin C is an ingredient in producing collagen that improves skin health and gives it a more youthful appearance. In addition, strawberries contain manganese, a mineral that also aids collagen production.
Just one cup of raw strawberries contains 99% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and 26% of the recommended amount of manganese.
Watch out for allergies
Before adding strawberries into your diet, make sure you can tolerate eating them. Strawberries can cause allergic reactions. If you have a sensitivity to birch pollen, you could develop a reaction to raw strawberries as well. It’s called birch-fruit syndrome, and it can cause sensitivity to apples, cherries, and plums as well. Common symptoms are itching and swelling in the mouth and throat.
Cooking destroys the allergen in strawberries, so eating cooked berries won’t typically cause a reaction.
Adding strawberries to your daily routine can be easy. Try these recipes for delicious and healthy treats.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie:
- 8 ounces of crushed ice
- 1 ounce of strawberry juice
- 4 strawberries
- 1/2 banana
- 11 ounces of plain nonfat frozen yogurt
Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth. Serve immediately.
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup quartered strawberries
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 3/4 cups vanilla yogurt
- 3/4 cup granola (without raisins)
- 5 tablespoons honey
Combine berries and sugar in a bowl and mix. Let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Place 1/4 cup yogurt in the bottom of five 8-ounce glasses. Top with 2 tablespoons of the berry mixture, then repeat layers. Top with yogurt and granola. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon honey.
Strawberry and Spinach Salad:
- 1 cup hulled and sliced strawberries
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces of baby spinach, washed and dried
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
To make this dressing, add 3/4 cup strawberries, vinegar, basil, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Toss the spinach, cheese, almonds, and remaining strawberries and lightly drizzle them with dressing.
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Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
British Journal of Nutrition: "Strawberry anthocyanin and its association with postprandial inflammation and insulin."
Carnegie Museums: "The Strawberry: A Multiple Fruit."
Food Network: "Strawberry Banana Smoothie," "Strawberry and Spinach Salad," "Yogurt Parfait."
Harvard Health Publishing: "Fiber."
Journal of Medicinal Food: "Evaluation of antiproliferative, anti-type 2 diabetes, and antihypertension potentials of ellagitannins from strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) using in vitro models."
National Foundation for Cancer Research: "Season of the Cancer-Fighting Superfruit: Strawberries."
Nutrients: "Bioactive Compounds of Strawberry and Blueberry and Their Potential Health Effects Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview," "The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health."
Nutrition Value: "Strawberries, raw."
University of Manchester: "Allergy information for: Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa )."
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