Holy Strawberries!9 months ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Did you know that strawberries actually aren’t berries? Well, not technically. According to Stanford Magazine, true berries are “simple fruits that stem from one flower with one ovary with several seeds.” Strawberries, on the other hand, are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, which makes them “aggregate fruits.”
Regardless, there’s no fruit that complements a fruit smoothie or salad the way a strawberry does! Strawberries make you fall in love with its juicy sweetness and texture, while its alluring aroma can be found in lotions, soaps and air fresheners.
Strawberries can be eaten in their regular state, or used for juices, pies, salads and a ton of desserts. If you want to treat yourself, you can never go wrong with one of nature’s most delicious delicacies!
But more importantly, strawberries are good for your health.
Strawberries contain a significant number of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. They also contain compounds called flavonoids, anthocyanins and phenolic acids which are critical for disease prevention and maintaining health. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), strawberry phenolics can “detoxify free radicals blocking their production” as well as “protect and repair DNA damage.”
So What Are Some Of The Other Health Benefits of Strawberries?
- Strawberries May Boost Your Immune System
Your immune system protects your body from illnesses, infections and other conditions that can harm the body. Luckily, strawberries are packed with nutrients like vitamin C to help boost your immune system. Vitamin C is what many of us refer to as the go-to vitamin to avoid the common cold or cough, but this vitamin can help fight other infections and free radicals.
- Strawberries May Enhance Brain Function
The more we age, the more we become at risk of losing our memory and control over our limbs and muscles. But thanks to the phytochemicals and antioxidants that are packed in strawberries, you may be able to avoid symptoms of cognitive decline and brain deterioration. As small as they are, strawberries are a giant source of potassium, which is also great for improving cognitive function as it increases blood flow to the brain.
- Strawberries May Improve Arthritis and Gout
Diseases like arthritis and gout may be due to inflammation in the body. Strawberries have a ton of nutrients, like vitamin C, that help prevent degeneration of muscle tissues and combat inflammation.
- Strawberries May Improve Eye Health
Harmful oxidants and free radicals may be the underlying reasons for poor eye health. If we’re not careful, our eyes can be susceptible to excessive dryness, macular degeneration, degeneration of our optical nerves, vision defects or worse – the loss of vision, entirely.
We can counter these conditions with healthy doses of phenolic phytochemicals, flavonoids and even ellagic acid. And guess what? Strawberries have a ton of all of these! Thanks to minerals like potassium, eating strawberries can also prevent ocular pressure, which is the uncomfortable pressure in the eyes.
- Strawberries May Help Prevent Cancer
Strawberries contain flavonoids like folate, anthocyanins, quercetin and kaempferol, which all carry antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. When put together, they make a force to be reckoned with against preventing cancer and tumors.
One cup of raw strawberries includes the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C, 89.4mg - This vitamin can help you build and maintain collagen. You lose collagen as you age, which weakens the elasticity of the skin. With its antioxidant properties, vitamin C helps protect the skin against free radicals we are all exposed to in the environment. This vitamin also promotes strong, healthy hair and nails. And as you probably know, vitamin C is great at boosting your immune system and fighting off colds.
- Folate, 36 µg - Folate (also called vitamin B9) is a very important nutrient, especially for pregnant women. Folate may help prevent cancer and heart disease and improve mental health.
- Vitamin K, 3.3 µg - You can find vitamin K in the liver, but you can also find the vitamin in body tissues like the brain, pancreas and heart. Not only does vitamin K help in bone formation and insulin sensitivity, it also prevents calcification, which is when calcium salts build up in your body tissue, vessels and organs, and cause the disruption of your body’s normal process.
- Calcium, 24 mg - Adequate calcium may also decrease your risk for colorectal cancer. Recent studies confirm high calcium intake is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer among both men and women. Maintaining the correct levels of calcium in your system may also reduce risk of breast cancer.
- Magnesium, 20mg - This must-have mineral helps with blood pressure regulation and also has antioxidant properties. Several studies have also shown an improvement in the severity of symptoms of depression when study participants were given 125-300 mg of magnesium with each meal and at bedtime.
- Phosphorus, 36mg - This mineral may be a key factor in preventing obesity. A study in Lebanon showed that phosphorus supplements in a small group (63 people) for just 12 weeks significantly decreased body weight, BMI, waist circumference and subjective appetite scores.
- Potassium, 233mg - This mineral works with sodium to balance the fluids and electrolytes in the body. Potassium helps keep blood pressure under control and may even help reduce kidney stones and bone loss as you age.
- Sodium, 2 mg - Sodium is one of the most important minerals in the human body. It regulates your body’s fluid levels while keeping your brain sharp. Sodium also prevents your muscles from cramping and even defends your skin from free radicals that accelerate your aging process.
Isn’t it good to know that the more you indulge in strawberries, the healthier you can be. Fruits such as strawberries are important diet considerations if your goal is to remain healthy. It is important that we eat with a purpose and know about the nutrients we get from foods when we eat them.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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