Strawberry is the member of rose family which is a berry (also called as an enlarged receptacle of the flower), not a fruit. Strawberries do not ripe further once plucked from the tree. Medium-sized berries with firm, shiny, deep red and plump nature are good. This popular fruit was first cultivated in ancient Rome. This fruit having aphrodisiac nature keeps your heart healthy and strong. This fruit contains five separate petals and it is the only fruit having seeds on the outside. More than 600 varieties of the strawberries are found with different flavor, size and texture. It is found all through the year however peak season is April to July. It is highly produced in the California (around 2 billion pounds per year).
Benefits of Strawberry Fruit
Strawberries are rich source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals contributing to the overall health. It is the good source of vitamin C and dietary fibers. It is very attractive in shape and color having little package of nutrients which keep heart healthy, increase good cholesterol level, lower blood pressure, and protect from cancer. People, who consume this fruit regularly, have less risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, etc. High intake of fruits and vegetables gives healthy skin, hair, increased energy level, and lower weight.
Strawberries are packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, however; have no sodium, fat, cholesterol, and fewer calories. It comes under top 20 fruits having antioxidant capacity. It is a source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients such as anthocyanins, cyanidins, procyanidins, favonols, pelargonidins, quercetin, gallocatechins, catechins, ellagic acid, gallic acid, vanillic acid, salicylic acid, kaempferol, epicatechins, cinnamic acid, caffeic acid, hydroxy-benzoic acids, hydroxy-cinnamic acids, coumaric acid, ferulic acid, ellagitannins, gallotannins, resveratrol, Tannins, stilbenes, etc. It is not only juicy and delicious, but a superfood. It provides wide range of health benefits to us, such as:
Acts as Immunity Booster
Strawberries are known as immunity booster because of being an excellent source of vitamin C and powerful antioxidants. As we know that we cannot produce vitamin C in our body naturally and we have to take it from outside according to the daily requirement of vitamin C in our body. One serving of strawberries (51.5 mg) can fulfill our half amount of daily requirement of vitamin C. Antioxidants found in strawberries become bioavailable means they are ready to work in blood soon after eating.
Promotes Eye Health
Strawberries are rich of antioxidants which help in preventing eye from cataracts (means clouding over the eye lens) and thus keep away from blindness in older age. Good level of vitamin C found in it prevents our eyes from exposure to free-radicals, produced by UV rays, which can damage lens protein. Vitamin C also helps in maintaining the health of our eyes as it strengthens the cornea and retina.
Helps to Fight Cancer
Vitamin C found in strawberries acts as antioxidants which prevent us from cancer. Daily intake of it boosts our immune system which is the best defense system against cancer. It also contains a phytochemical named as ellagic acid which has anti-cancerous property and suppresses cancer cell formation and growth. Other antioxidants found in it are lutein and zeathancins which act as scavengers to the free-radicals as well as neutralizes their negative effects.
Keeps Skin Healthy and Glowing
Strawberries are rich source of vitamin C which is vital to the production of collagen in the body. Collagen helps to improve the skin elasticity and resilience. According to the age, our body reduces the capacity of collagen production, thus it is very necessary to eat fruits or vegetables rich in vitamin C to maintain the health of skin. It keeps our skin healthier, younger, and good looking as it is wrinkle fighter. It also contains ellagic acid which prevents collagen destruction and inflammatory response in the body.
Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Strawberry contains powerful heart-health boosters like ellagic acid and flavonoids including some phytochemicals which provide antioxidant effect in the body. It counteracts the effect of low-density lipoprotein means bad cholesterol in the blood thus prevents from plaque formation in arteries. Its anti-inflammatory property reduces oxidative damage and blood lipids in the body thus prevents from heart diseases.
Antioxidants and phytochemicals found in it reduce inflammation of joints thus prevents from arthritis and heart disease. It reduces the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body which causes inflammation.
Regulates Blood Pressure
It is good source of potassium, a heart healthy nutrient, which helps in regulating blood pressure and prevents from high blood pressure by reducing negative effects of sodium. It is a heart friendly fruit contains soluble fibers which reduce the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) and protects heart from various diseases. Phytonutrients decreases the oxidation of fats, decreases levels of circulating fats and decreases the activity of angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE-increases risk of high BP). In this way, it reduces the risk of high blood pressure.
Good Source of Dietary Fiber
Daily intake of strawberries fulfills our need of required dietary fibers in the body. Fibers found in it help in healthy digestion and prevent from the constipation and diverticulitis (inflammation of intestine).
Fights with Type-2 Diabetes
Fibers found in it also help in fighting with type-2 diabetes as it lowers down the absorption of sugars in the blood. People who are already suffering from diabetes can enjoy taking strawberries in moderation. Polyphenols found in it slow down the breakdown and absorption of carbs thus decrease the need for insulin in the body in order to maintain the normal blood glucose. A special polyphenol (ellagitannins) found in it inhibit the activity of alpha-amylase enzyme (which breaks amylose starches into simple sugars). Thus maintains the level of sugar in blood.
Helps in Weight Management
Maintaining a healthy weight is quiet tough but not impossible. Weight management prevents us from various diseases such as type-2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, overweight, etc. Strawberry is a fruit with low calorie, fat-free, low sodium, low sugar, high potassium, and good fiber which support weight management. Anthocyanins stimulate burning of stored fat thus help in weight maintenance.
Promotes Pre-Natal Health during Pregnancy
It is the rich source of folate which is recommended to intake for a woman during pregnancy in order to provide security to both, mother and baby from various problems caused by the deficiency of folate during pregnancy. It helps in the well development of brain, skull and spinal cord in the baby as well as prevents from birth defects like spina bifida, etc.
Prevents from Free Radicals
Vibrant red colored sweet and juicy strawberries are good source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants which protect cellular damage in our body caused by free radicals.
Promotes Wound Healing
Eating strawberry on daily basis fulfills our daily need of vitamin C as our body uses vitamin C to make collagen which helps in wound healing. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of iron (a critical component of body’s immune system).
Protects from Diseases
It is loaded with phytonutrient (also known as plant chemicals) which is protective and disease preventing in nature. It is a plant based compound which provides protection against diseases.
Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Flavonoids found in it become potent antioxidants which lower down the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It inhibits the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (means LDL or bad cholesterol), improves blood vessel functioning, and decreases the tendency for blood clotting. It also decreases the inflammatory process in body, thus protects the heart from various diseases (like heart attack, stroke, heart failure, etc).
Prevents Tooth Decay
Polyphenols found in it inhibit starches breakdown in mouth thus prevent plaque formation, tooth decay and gum diseases.
Reduces Risk of Bowel Problems
It reduces the risk of bowel problems like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease by decreasing the inflammation in digestive tract. It helps in proper bowel movements by improving digestion among people with constipation or irregular stools.
Reduces Risk of Stroke
Antioxidants like quercetin, kaempferol, and anthocyanins found in it have property to reduce formation of harmful blood clots in the blood vessels. Its high potassium content also linked with the reduced risk of stroke.
Reduces Risk of Allergies and Asthma
It contains a compound called quercetin which has anti-inflammatory effects and helps in alleviating the symptoms of allergy, watery eyes, runny nose, hives, asthma, etc.
Provides Relief from Depression
Folate found in it helps people with depression by preventing excess formation of homocysteine (prevents blood and other nutrients reaching to brain) in the body. Excess production of homocysteine in the body interferes with the production of good hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine (regulates mood, sleep, appetite, etc).
Promotes Bone Health
Strawberry contains potassium, vitamin K and magnesium which help in improving bone health.
Health Benefits of Strawberry Jam
Strawberry jam is very safe to eat with bread, toast, etc as it does not contribute to the improvement of cholesterol and fat in the body. Pectin found in it gets changed during heating process which helps in reducing the risk of cancer. It boosts energy level among kids because of being rich in sugar and calories however should be used within limit by the weight loss seekers and diabetics. It is rich source of fiber, vitamin C, A and antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Strawberry Milkshake
Whether you take strawberry milkshake alone or mixed with almonds, both are packed with healthy nutrients and numerous health benefits. Strawberry milkshake is packed with vitamin C, fibers, phytonutrients, antioxidants, etc nutrients. It is very energetic and high calorie shake and much beneficial especially for the kids.
Health Benefits of Strawberry Juice
Strawberry juice is full of healthy nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, fibers, folate, manganese, omega-3 fats, and phytonutrients. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property keeps our cardiovascular systems healthy. It contains anthocyanins which lower the risk of high blood pressure. It is full of anti-cancerous substances thus protects from cancer. It controls the blood sugar level and reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes. It lowers bad cholesterol and total cholesterol in the body as it contains folate, fiber, and potassium.
It is packed with antioxidants which prevent body from cell damaging free radicals and carcinogens. Vitamin C found in it increases glutathione level as well as decreases free radicals and removes heavy metals from body.
Nutritional Value of Strawberry per 100 g
Strawberries are rich source of the essential nutrients such as vitamin C, folates, potassium, fiber, antioxidants, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin and kaempferol having protective effects against certain types of cancer. 100 g of fresh strawberries contains around 160% of our daily needs of vitamin C. Below is the nutritional value of 100 g strawberries:
(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
Energy: 136 kJ (33 kcal)
Carbohydrates: 7.68 g
Sugars: 4.89 g
Dietary fiber: 2 g
Fat: 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2 g
Protein: 0.67 g
Water: 90.95 g
Thiamine (B1): 0.024 mg
Riboflavin (B2): 0.022 mg
Niacin (B3): 0.386 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5): 0.125 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.047 mg
Folate (B9): 24 μg
Choline: 5.7 mg
Vitamin C: 58.8 mg
Vitamin E: 0.29 mg
Vitamin K: 2.2 μg
Vitamin A: 14 IU
Calcium: 16 mg
Iron: 0.41 mg
Magnesium: 13 mg
Manganese: 0.386 mg
Phosphorus: 24 mg
Potassium: 153 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Zinc: 0.14 mg
Fluoride: 4.4 µg
Selenium: 0.50 mg
Selection and Storage of Strawberry
We cannot store strawberries for many days as it starts decaying soon so, we should purchase it only few days prior to use or same day we require it. We should always choose fresh, well ripe, firm, vibrant red, plump, and shiny strawberries with attached green caps. Always avoid dull strawberries having green or yellow patches as they can be sour and unripe. Always try to buy organic strawberries instead of inorganic as inorganic one contains around 60 different pesticides which are very harmful to the health. Always go for small strawberries as they are sweeter and more flavorful. It can be kept at room temperature for few hours however; anthocyanin (responsible for its red color) found in it is heat sensitive and gets changed to brown at warm temperature. We can store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator for maximum two days.
How to Enjoy Strawberry
Strawberries can be enjoyed in many ways such as whole fruit, salad, fruit salad, cream salad, strawberries with curd or yogurt, juice, jam, strawberry shake, strawberry milkshake, sliced strawberries to a mixed green salad, add it to a smoothie, sliced strawberries with rich dark chocolate, etc.
Disadvantages, Side Effects and Precautions of Strawberry
There are some disadvantages, side effects and precautions of strawberry which we must take care while eating strawberries:
- Inorganic strawberries contain pesticide residues, so we should be attentive while buying or eating strawberries. Pesticides have negative impact over health such as they reduce liver’s ability to process toxins, body cells ability to produce energy, nerves ability to send messages, etc.
- Strawberries contain oxalates which may crystallize and cause various health problems. People with kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating strawberries. It also causes problem in calcium absorption from the body.
How Many Strawberries to Eat Per Day
Strawberry is really very attractive fruit which everyone likes most. However, we need to eat anything within limit as outside the limit danger exist. If we eat strawberries in moderation, it benefits us however it may harm us in many ways if we eat more. The average amount of strawberries we can eat is 1-2 cups per day to get daily nutritional requirement of vitamins; however, we must be sure that we have no any problems of kidney or gallbladder. It is better to consult with your health practitioner if you want to add something new in your daily diet.