One of the most popular and well-known berries is the strawberry. Not only is it a very popular artificial flavor among candies and drinks, it is also prevalent as an accompaniment of desserts, as well as a healthy snack or dessert by itself. Here are the health benefits of strawberries and why you might love them even more.
One of the best qualities of strawberries, aside from their delicious taste, is that they are packed with vitamin C and other nutrients. Here are some major vitamins and minerals found in strawberries:
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is crucial in boosting the immune system, reducing the risk of stroke, and can even help with diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.
- Calcium. Surprisingly, this compound is prevalent in strawberries, and it helps prevent osteoporosis, lowers blood pressure and reduces colorectal cancer risk.
- Folate. This is a nutrient essential in ensuring a safe pregnancy, as well as helping prevent heart disease.
- Potassium. This mineral helps regulate electrolytes in the body and can help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also helps prevent kidney stone formation and osteoporosis.
- Manganese. This mineral stabilizes blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and helps prevent osteoporosis.
- Dietary fiber. Not only can fiber help relieve constipation, it also stabilizes blood sugar, regulate digestion, and can help lower bad cholesterol in the body.
Other trace nutrients that are not as abundant, but still present, in strawberries include: iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, selenium and pantothenic acids.
Antioxidants And Phytonutrients
In addition to the myriad of nutrients, this super fruit is often named as an antioxidant powerhouse for a reason. Here are some antioxidants that strawberries pack:
- Anthocyanins. This antioxidant, which gives strawberries their red color, has anti-cancer properties as it neutralizes cancer-causing free radicals. They are also found to be anti-inflammatory, and have shown in studies to help alleviate symptoms of arthritis patients.
- Ellagic acid. This helps in reducing inflammation of the body and prevents the breakdown of collagen in skin, thus also warding off wrinkles.
- Quercetin. This phenolic compound has antibacterial and anti-cancer properties. It also protects the capillaries (small blood vessels).
Long Term Health Benefits
No doubt, eating strawberries long-term can most definitely yield rewarding health benefits. They include:
- Improved heart health. In a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, subjects that ate strawberries regularly had decreased inflammation in blood vessels and had lower blood pressure than those who do not ingest strawberries regularly. The antioxidant, anthocyanins, found on the skin of strawberries, also has anticoagulant properties; daily intake can help prevent blood clots, which can lead to stroke. Potassium presents in strawberries also help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Anti-aging properties. The USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging found that strawberries can help slow the decline of motor and cognitive skills related to aging. The abundant amount phytonutrients and antioxidants have also shown to fight signs of skin aging, such as wrinkles and sun damage. Strawberries have been also linked to decreased cases of cataracts, an eye condition related to aging and sun. (For more anti-aging foods, see 8 Anti-Aging Foods To Help You Look Younger.)
- Helps boost immunity. One cup of strawberries can suffice a person’s daily intake of vitamin C, which is vital in a healthy immune system. Hence, those who snack on the super fruit will definitely have a stronger immune system to fight off the common cold, flu, and other diseases and infections.
- Can help prevent cancer. Antioxidants present in the fruit, such as anthocyanins, neutralize free radicals that can cause cancer. Since internal body inflammation has been linked to cancer, strawberries’ anti-inflammatory properties also help to ward off cancer.
- Decrease internal body inflammation. Studies further show that this fruit lower the levels of C-reactive protein in blood levels (which inflames the body and can lead to a myriad of problems). Such anti-inflammatory properties are not only good for cardiovascular health, they can also decrease episodes of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus flare ups.
Interesting health facts about strawberries
- Out of 1,000 foods, strawberries are ranked third highest in the amount of antioxidant it has (after blueberries and walnuts).
- Studies show that having an alcoholic drink adorned with strawberries (such as crushing the fruit, or having a strawberry daiquiri made with the real fruit) can boost the fruit’s antioxidant potency.
- 1 cup of strawberries allow for 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
- Frozen strawberries still almost retain the same amount of nutrients as fresh ones, so they can be easily stored for smoothie concoctions later.
- Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. This also means natural brightening of our teeth when we eat it, as those seeds exfoliate our enamel!
Now that you understand strawberries and its health benefits so much more, go and load up on some of these juicy red fruits!