Health Benefits of Strawberry

strawberryStrawberries are not just delicious; they are nutritious too. Strawberries should be part of your daily diet.

The USDA recommends at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday. Most people don’t even come close to getting the USDA recommended amount. But, adding strawberries to your meals or snacks even as smoothies, salads, or on their own, helps you get the servings of fruit needed for a healthy body.

How nutritious are strawberries?

Strawberries contain plenty of nutrients. Vitamin C tops the list. Strawberries also have significant amounts of manganese, dietary fiber, iodine, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, copper and magnesium.

Strawberries also contain high levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants that fight free radicals. Free radicals are elements that damage cells. They are also thought to help form several kinds of cancers.

Anthocyanins as antioxidants

Strawberries are an abundant source of phenols. Anthocyanins and ellagitannis lead the phenols in strawberries.

Anthocyanins give strawberries their red color. More importantly, they act as antioxidants that prevent oxygen damage in all organ systems of the body.

Strawberries’ unique phenol content makes them a good anti-heart disease, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory fruit.

Strawberries’ phenol have the ability to lessen the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase’s activity. Overactivity of this enzyme causes unwanted inflammation, such as those involved in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer. People usually take drugs to block the enzyme’s activity, but unlike strawberries, drugs may cause internal bleeding.

Phytonutrients for optimal health

Ellagitannis in strawberries have been linked to decreasing cancer death rates. In one study, strawberries topped the list of foods most associated with lower rates of cancer deaths among a group of more than 1,000 people. Those eating more strawberries were three times less likely to develop cancer than those who did not.

The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry examined eight strawberry cultivars for their protective plant compounds content and their antioxidant capacities. It was found that although different cultivars have significantly different amounts of the various beneficial compounds, all were found to significantly curb the proliferation of human liver cancer cells.

Protection against rheumatoid arthritis

One study found that foods high in vitamin C, such as strawberries, provide protection against inflammatory polyarthritis. The findings, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, were taken from a study involving more than 20,000 participant which focused on who developed polyarthritis and similar subjects who did not did not develop the condition during the follow-up period.

Participants with the lowest consumption of vitamin C rich foods were found to be three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who have the highest consumption of vitamin C-rich foods.

Consumer tips 

When purchasing strawberries, make sure that they will be consumed a few days after or they will perish. Choose those that are firm, plump and mold-free, with shiny, deep red color and attached to green caps. Choose medium sized berries since they are more flavorful than the really big ones.

When storing, remove those with molds or damages as they will contaminate others. Do not leave strawberries in room temperature or direct sunlight because they will spoil more quickly. Handle them properly when preparing and eating.