Strawberry is one of the most famous spring and summer berry fruits enjoyed around the world. It is a low-glycemic food, a powerhouse of antioxidants, and lushly packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Adding this amazing vibrant red-coloured soft fruit can provide a wide array of benefits to health, ranging from gut support, improving brain and cardiovascular health, regulating sugar levels, fighting certain types of cancers, reducing inflammation, and much more.
In this article, we will look at its amazing range of benefits and nutritional profile in detail.
Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) is one of the most popularly enjoyed berries around the world. It is a member of the Rosaceae family, which is cultivated for its amazingly sweet, pleasant flavor, and nutritional value. Originating in the 18th century in Europe, it is now the most popular berry fruit among people worldwide.
Strawberries are commercially produced in varieties in many countries and globally consumed as fresh, frozen, canned, preserved, and as a juice. This refreshing fruit is typically low in calories, making it an ideal choice for healthy weight management and plenty of other benefits. They contain pelargonidin, a plant-based compound (anthocyanin) responsible for the strawberry's vibrant red colour.
Strawberries are a great source of micronutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B9, calcium, potassium, manganese, carotenoids, and fibre. It is primarily composed of natural antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-microbial properties, and the ability to inhibit some physiological enzyme and receptor activities.1
Health benefits of strawberries
Consuming strawberries on a regular daily basis is greatly associated with reducing the risk of various chronic diseases and improving human health. Some of the health benefits of strawberries include:
- Reduce oxidative stress: One of the most prominent reasons to consume strawberries is their excellent antioxidant benefits. Strawberries are one of the most effective sources of antioxidants. Physiologically, our body's cells are constantly combating free radicals. The overwhelming effect of these free radicals causes oxidative stress in the body, which can be detrimental to our health. Antioxidants neutralise the free radicals and prevent them from causing damage to the body. According to an analysis conducted by researchers, it was reported that strawberries contain the highest antioxidant capacity among most fruits and vegetables, measured by an antioxidant capacity assay2
- Protect heart health: Along with antioxidants, strawberries also contain polyphenols, which aid in protecting the lining of the circulatory system by preventing plaque build-up in the arteries. A study reported that strawberries have a distinct effect that reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes3
- Regulate blood sugar levels: Strawberries are a good source of a healthy plant-based compound called ellagic acid, which along with antioxidants helps slow the digestion of starchy foods. The ellagic acid both lowers and maintains blood sugar levels after a starchy meal. Moreover, strawberries have a low glycemic index, so they are unlikely to cause spikes in sugar levels if consumed by diabetic individuals
- Immunity booster: Strawberries have abundant sources of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Having said that, a single serving of strawberries can provide more vitamin C than a famous orange. Vitamin C is widely known for its anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties, which enhance the body's ability to ward off infections.
Furthermore, the vitamin C and fibre in strawberries also reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer
- Regulate blood pressure: Since strawberries are loaded with anthocyanins (the antioxidant that gives the fruit its red pigment) and potassium, they both aid in lowering blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels
- Improve brain health: The high nutritional content present in strawberries enhances overall brain health. The antioxidants prevent damage to the brain cells and also prevent memory decline
- Promote bone health: Strawberries also provide benefits by protecting other body parts like bones and joints. The anti-inflammatory properties of this fruit reduce pain and swelling in the joints and promote a healthy lifestyle
- Lower Cholesterol: The soluble fibre called pectin present in strawberries regulates the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body
Other benefits may include the following:
- Improves vision and reduces the risks of eye diseases
- It aids in the management of weight loss
- Promotes a healthy pregnancy
- Has anti-aging properties
- Enhances skin health
- Strengthens teeth
- Prevents hair loss
- Improves insulin sensitivity
Nutrients we can get from strawberries
Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, vitamin B9, and other essential nutrients that aid in reducing the risks of several health complications such as diabetes, stroke, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Strawberries are generally composed of water, carbohydrates, some amounts of fat, and protein. Nutrients in a 100-gram serving of strawberries include:
- Calories: 32 kcal
- Water: 91 grams
- Carbohydrates: 7.7 grams
- Protein: 0.67 grams
- Fibers: 2 grams
- Sugar: 4.9 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
It also provides ample amounts of:
- Vitamin C: 58.8 mg
- Magnesium: 13 mg
- Calcium: 16 mg
- Potassium: 153 mg
- Phosphorous: 24 mg
- Healthy plant compounds like pelargonidin, procyanidins, ellagitannins, and ellagic acid
- To a lesser extent, it also contains copper, iron, and vitamins B6 and E.
Ways to include strawberries in our diet
Strawberries are delicious and versatile, as they need very little or no preparation at all. Other than enjoying eating raw strawberries, here are a few light and quick ways to add this vibrant fruit to your regular diet plan.
- Creamy dip: Strawberries and low-fat yoghurt are a splendid combination to treat your cravings. Simply dipping your strawberries in a low-fat yoghurt will give them a unique and creamy taste
- Strawberry oatmeal: If you are looking for a meal packed with a high nutritional profile for maintaining a healthy weight, then including oatmeal in breakfast is potentially the healthiest option. Mixing fresh strawberries with oatmeal not only adds sweetness and flavour but is also pleasing to the eyes
- Strawberry with black pepper: To enjoy a little spicy treat, sprinkle crushed black pepper over sliced strawberries to enjoy enhanced flavours.
- Homemade strawberry jam: In comparison to commercial strawberry jams, making your means there will be little to no preservatives and high fructose corn syrup in it
- Enjoy with greens: Brighten up your plate of green vegetables by tossing sliced strawberries into it. Vegetables that are packed with iron such as spinach are more easily absorbed with vitamin C-rich foods in the body
- Strawberry with chocolate: Strawberries and chocolates are the all-time favourite combination. Coat your strawberries in melted chocolate to enjoy as a special treat. For extra health benefits, opt for dark chocolate loaded with rich antioxidant properties
Some other ways to include strawberries are:
- Make homemade strawberry jelly for a healthy, low-calorie dessert
- Toss them up in your fruit salad
- Make a refreshing smoothie out of your fresh or frozen strawberries
- Top it on your healthy waffles or pancakes
- Create your elegant strawberry salsa with chopped fruits like strawberries, apples, and kiwis, and mix them up. Pour your salsa over grilled salmon or chicken to enjoy the mix of sweet and savoury tastes
How much is enough?
It is advised that individuals eat a serving of seven strawberries each day. Many nutritionists and healthcare researchers believe that consuming the recommended intake provides considerable benefits such as potential improvement in brain and heart health, decreased risk of developing certain cancers, and efficient management of diabetes.
Side effects and how much to consume
Strawberries may slow down the absorption process of natural sugars due to their high fibre content. Keeping your portions in moderation is advised to avoid any adverse effects.
Although strawberries are generally well-tolerated, strawberry allergy is also common, especially among children. This is because of the specific protein present in strawberries that can cause symptoms in people similar to the ones who are sensitive to birch in apples or pollen. Moreover, strawberries also contain goitrogens, substances that may interfere with thyroid gland function.
Strawberry is one of the most popularly enjoyed berries around the world. This superfood contains a high nutritional content and a low glycemic index, making it an ideal option for weight management.
Strawberries are high in vitamin C, folate, essential minerals, and fibre, all of which contribute significantly to the numerous health benefits, such as promoting cardiovascular, brain, and gut health. By following the daily recommended intake, individuals can efficiently manage their lifestyle. Since it is a versatile fruit, you can incorporate strawberries into various delicious recipes or enjoy them simply on their own.
- Giampieri F, Alvarez-Suarez JM, Mazzoni L, Romandini S, Bompadre S, Diamanti J, et al. The potential impact of strawberry on human health. Natural Product Research. 2013 Mar;27(4–5):448–55. Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14786419.2012.706294
- Basu A, Nguyen A, Betts NM, Lyons TJ. Strawberry as a functional food: an evidence-based review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2014 Jan;54(6):790–806. Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2011.608174
- Basu A, Izuora K, Betts NM, Kinney JW, Salazar AM, Ebersole JL, et al. Dietary strawberries improve cardiometabolic risks in adults with obesity and elevated serum ldl cholesterol in a randomized controlled crossover trial. Nutrients. 2021 Apr;13(5):1421. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/5/1421
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