Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) originated in Europe in the 18th century. This fruit is red, juicy, and sweet. Strawberries can be eaten raw and fresh or in the form of jams, jellies, and desserts. When choosing strawberries, select those that are plump, firm, and deep red. What are the health benefits of strawberries? Read on to find out.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
1. Highly Nutritious
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, folate, fiber, manganese, and potassium. These essential nutrients support various body functions. One cup of fresh, sliced strawberries (152 grams) contains the following nutrients:
Strawberry Nutrition Facts
• Vitamin C: 89.4 mg (149% of DV)
• Folate: 36.5 mcg (9% of DV)
• Vitamin K: 3.3 mcg (4% of DV)
• Manganese: (0.6 mg (29% of DV)
• Potassium: 233 mg (7% of DV)
• Magnesium: 19.8 mg (5% of DV)
• Phosphorus: 36.5 mg (4% of DV)
• Calcium: 24.3 mg (2% of DV)
• Dietary fiber: 3 g (12% of DV)
• Carbohydrates: 11.7 g (4% of DV)
• Iron: 0.6 mg (3% of DV)
• Protein: 1 g (2% of DV)
• Calories: 48.6 kcal (2% of DV)
Note: DV = Daily Value
Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges. In addition, strawberries contain powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanins, quercetin, ellagic acid, and kaempferol.
2. Good for Heart Health
Among the most important health benefits of strawberries is that they may help prevent heart disease. This is because they are rich in polyphenols (plant compounds which are good for the body). Studies have found a relationship between anthocyanins found in berries and improved heart health.
According to a study done on middle-aged people with established risk factors for heart disease, berries may improve good cholesterol (HDL), blood platelets function, and blood pressure. Strawberries may also improve blood antioxidant status, improve blood lipid profile, and reduce the harmful effect of bad cholesterol (LDL).
The flavonoid quercetin present in strawberries is a natural anti-inflammatory that may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. The potassium and fiber in strawberries also support heart health.
3. Blood Sugar Regulation
When carbohydrates are digested, the body breaks them down to simple sugars and releases them into the bloodstream. Then, the body starts secreting insulin, which causes cells to pick up sugar from the bloodstream and use it for fuel. Strawberries have a relatively low GI (glycemic index) score of 40. This means that eating strawberries won’t lead to big spikes in blood sugar levels.
High sugar diets and imbalances in blood sugar regulation are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Strawberries slow down glucose digestion and reduce spikes in glucose and insulin following a carbohydrate-rich meal, compared to a carbohydrate-rich meal without strawberries. Hence, strawberries may be useful for preventing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
4. Reduces the Risk of High Blood Pressure
Due to their high potassium content, strawberries may be beneficial for people who are at risk of high blood pressure by offsetting the effect of sodium in the body. Low potassium intake is also a risk factor for high blood pressure. Therefore, consuming strawberries can help both ways.
Fewer than 2% of adult American meet the daily 3,500 to 4,700 mg recommendation for potassium. Eating strawberries is one way people can get more potassium in their diet.
5. Prevents Constipation
Eating fruits high in water content and fiber such as strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, and watermelon can help hydrate the body as well as maintain regular bowel movements. Fiber, in particular, helps minimize constipation and adds bulk to the stool.
6. May Help Lower the Risk of Stroke
The antioxidants in strawberries may offer protection against strokes by preventing blood clot formation. Potassium found in strawberries also acts as a vasodilator, which improves blood flow to the brain, thereby reducing the risk of stroke.
7. Cancer Prevention
Cancer is a disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The formation and progression of cancer is often linked to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
Studies suggest that berries may help prevent some types of cancer because they fight oxidative stress and inflammation. The protective effects of strawberries may be due to the ellagic acid and ellagitannins, which have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. However, more research is needed to understand the effects of strawberries on cancer before any conclusions can be reached.
8. Eye Care
Eating strawberries may help prevent conditions such as dry eyes, macular degeneration, and vision defects. Antioxidants found in strawberries such as phenolic phytochemicals, flavonoids, and ellagic acid may help alleviate eye problems because they fight off free radicals.
Allergic Reaction to Strawberries
Some people (especially children) may have an allergic reaction to strawberries. The most common symptoms are itching or tingling in the throat and swelling of the lips, but might also resemble hay fever, dermatitis, or hives. In severe cases, breathing problems may occur. If this happens, see a doctor immediately.
Strawberries are packed with vitamins, fiber, and polyphenols. They are a good source of Vitamin C, manganese, and potassium. The health benefits of strawberries are impressive. They are good for the heart, help improve good cholesterol, reduce bad cholesterol, and help lower blood pressure. Strawberries may also reduce the risk of strokes, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.