Health Benefits of Strawberries
Last week I took a trip to the gorgeous coast of Oregon. As we were driving out to the coast from Portland, we passed a bunch of farms selling strawberries. Hand made signs were staked out front stating, "NO SPRAY STRAWBERRIES". It must have been at the peak of the season because when we pulled over to buy some, the entire flat (9 pints) cost $10 bucks! I couldn't believe it. After tasting one, I was thrilled to arrive with my jackpot of deliciousness, perfect to share with the rest of my family.
As reported recently on MightyNest, strawberries are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found, according to EWG's 2011, "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce". Additional research in 2011 has also shown non-organically grown strawberries to contain a high number of pesticide residues, including residues from 14 different pesticides.
Strawberries have a unique combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and Vitamins C and K. AND, a very good source of manganese, pantothenic acid, vitamin B1, and iodine. AND, a good source of folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B6! I always knew that strawberries packed a serious nutrient punch, but that list is impressive!
Here are 12 ways strawberries aid in our good health:
- Antioxidants - Strawberries contain a chemical compound called phenols. The red color of the fruit comes from Anthocyanin, a particular phenol abundantly found in strawberries. It is known that when anthocyanin-rich foods are consumed, the body's uric acid levels increase, which serves as an antioxidant agent.
- Anti-Inﬂammatory: The phenols in strawberries also ﬁght against many inﬂammatory disorders in a simlar way that aspirin and ibuprofen work, by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX). Luckily, strawberries aren't likely to cause an upset stomach.
- Anti-Cancer: The combination of antioxidant and anti-inﬂammatory agents found in strawberries is well-known to ﬁght against the onset of many different forms of cancer. Strawberries are a delicious defense against potentially cancerous cells, partly in thanks to the vitamin C, folate, and the ﬂavonoids quercetin and kaempferol that they contain.
- Healthy Eyes: The primary reasons for almost all the problems of eyes are free radicals and deficiency of certain nutrients. The anti oxidants such as vitamin-C, Flavonoids, Phenolic Phytochemicals and Elagic Acid, packed in strawberries can help avoid this situation.
- Brain Function: Vitamin-C and the phytochemicals in strawberries neutralize the effect of oxidants and also rejuvenate the system. Strawberries are also rich in iodine too, which is very helpful for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
- High Blood Pressure: Strawberries are very good in potassium and magnesium content, both of which are very effective in lowering high blood pressure caused by sodium.
- Heart Diseases: High fiber, Folate, no fats and high anti oxidants such as vitamin-C and those phytochemicals (Flavonoids) together are effective at reducing cholesterol. Vitamin B present in strawberries also lend in strengthening the cardiac muscles and help the functioning of the heart.
- Folate: For women, especially during pregnancy, folate is essential for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA, our genetic map and a basic building block of cells. Also known to protect from birth-defects.
- Vitamin C: One cup of strawberries contains an incredible 136% of the RDA of vitamin C, an effective antioxidant that can help lower blood pressure and to ensure a healthy immune system.
- Diet: One cup of strawberries gets you to 13% of the recommended daily amount of dietary ﬁber, but has only 43 calories! Dietary ﬁber in strawberries helps to keep digestion regular, as well as lowers blood pressure and curbs overeating.
- Manganese: One cup of strawberries contains 21% of manganese, an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inﬂammatory agent. Manganese not only helps to ﬁght the battle against free radicals and oxidative stress, but also lessens cellular inﬂammation which leads to cardiovascular diseases.
- Bone Health: Manganese is also great for the bones, helping in bone building and maintaining proper bone structure. The potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium in strawberries are also important for bone health.
Within a few days I ended up making another trip out to the farm to buy another flat. We made smoothies, sliced them on our cereal, froze them in homemade popsicles and just enjoyed them on their own. Yum! I will always remember Oregon's fabulous strawberries!
How do you like preparing strawberries?