Strawberries, perhaps the most well-known berries, are a popular treat in spring and summer. Coveted for both their taste and texture, strawberries are also nutritional powerhouses that are part of a healthy diet. In recent years, the benefits of this red, juicy fruit have even been taken up in skin care products.
Discover below the precious strawberry and its many benefits for your health.
What exactly are strawberries?
The scientific name for strawberry is Fragaria ananassa. It is technically a hybrid member of the Rosaceae (rose) family. The strawberry originated in Europe, where the ancient Romans viewed it as a decoration rather than an edible fruit. Strawberries are thought to have first been grown for food in France around the 1300s. The French then discovered a version of the berry in Chile (Fragaria chiloensis) and brought it back with them in the 1700s , but the Chilean version was found to be difficult to grow in drier, warmer climates.
What are the nutritional values of strawberries? Calories, carbohydrates, sugar, etc.
Like other plant foods, strawberries are a nutrient-dense, low-calorie selection of produce. Here are the measurements for 100 grams (g) (about half a cup) of raw strawberries:
Total fat: 0.22 g
Dietary fibre: 1.8g
Calcium: 12 milligrams (mg)
Vitamin A: 1 microgram (mcg)
Vitamin C: 56mg
Vitamin K: 2.1 mcg
As you can see, strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. By incorporating them into your diet, you can reach the recommended amount (75 mg per day for women and 90 mg per day for men) and enjoy the benefits. of this nutrient. In addition, strawberries do not contain cholesterol.
Are strawberries good for health? An overview of their known health benefits
Strawberries are classified as whole foods, which means that they are not modified or processed. They’re low in calories but high in nutrients, so you get what you pay for. Fruit also has a high water content, which keeps you feeling full longer. Strawberries are also functional foods, meaning they are believed to provide benefits beyond their nutritional value.
The deep red color of strawberries is not only aesthetically appealing, it is also linked to some of its health benefits. Strawberries owe their color to pigments called anthocyanins. These antioxidant-rich chemicals help neutralize substances called free radicals, which are harmful to cells in the body. Over time, free radicals can harm many body systems and promote disease.
According to a review of clinical studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, strawberries may help prevent cellular inflammation, which is associated with various diseases, and reduce the risk of the following diseases:
Type 2 diabetes
Are strawberries a good food for weight loss?
In addition to the important health benefits already mentioned, some clinical studies suggest that strawberries may help treat obesity-related conditions. Eating strawberries alone will not help you lose weight, but the berries are helpful in the part of a weight loss plan because they’re low in calories but high in fiber to keep you full.
Eating more low-calorie foods can create the calorie deficit needed to lose weight. Swapping candies and other sweets for strawberries can add up over time and help you shed unwanted pounds.
How to choose and store strawberries to get the best taste?
Due to their naturally tender flesh, strawberries bruise easily. Be careful not to crush them when you pick them. Inspect all containers purchased from the store or farmers market to ensure that none of the strawberries are discolored or soft. Ideally, the strawberries should be very red, plump and firm. Small berries also tend to be tastier. Once you get home, immediately put your strawberries in the fridge. They will stay fresh there for three days or more, depending on their quality. This also helps preserve the vitamin C content of the fruit, which is very sensitive to heat.
Do not wash the berries before eating them, to avoid mold and stains. When you’re ready to eat your strawberries, rinse them under cold water and drain them. You can do this in the original packaging or in a colander. Sponge them gently after rinsing them.
You’ll get the most health benefits from eating fresh strawberries whole or sliced (rather than processed foods like strawberry jam, which may contain added sugars or other less healthy ingredients) . You can enjoy them on their own as a snack or add them to oatmeal, yogurt or other nutritious foods. Strawberries are also excellent in smoothies and desserts. If strawberries aren’t in season, or aren’t grown locally, consider adding frozen strawberries to your freezer. Frozen berries are often picked when they’re freshest and retain their nutritional benefits, making them a great (and often more economical) option if you can’t easily get fresh strawberries.
Another possible use for strawberries: They are good for the skin
Due to the high antioxidant content of strawberries, some research has looked at their potential skin benefits. For example, one study found that compounds in strawberries applied topically can help protect the skin from free radicals, which can lead to premature aging and wrinkles. Some research suggests that they protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
The potential side effects of eating too many strawberries
Although generally safe when eaten in moderate amounts, strawberries are not completely risk-free. Their high fiber content means that if you eat too much of them too quickly, you risk suffering from gastrointestinal disorders (gas, bloating or abdominal pain, cramps). Gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat and be sure to drink plenty of water. Another more serious risk is allergic reaction. Although not considered as common as pollen and other types of allergies, strawberry allergies can occur in people with allergies to other plants in the Rosaceae family. There are reports of reactions in people who also have food allergies to cherries and grapes. When it comes to fruit allergies, peaches, apples, and kiwis are the most common. These fruits are also part of the Rosaceae family.
Food allergies can cause multiple symptoms, including:
Red, blue, or pale skin
Swelling, especially around the mouth and tongue
Difficulty speaking and swallowing
Symptoms of a strawberry allergy can appear within 5 to 15 minutes after consuming the food. Although strawberry allergy is not as common a food allergy as egg or nut allergy, the associated risks can be just as significant. If you have any of the above symptoms, avoid strawberries and ask your doctor for an allergy test. Food allergies also put you at risk of anaphylaxis, a serious reaction that can lead to serious consequences.
Strawberries are a whole, nutritious food that you should consider adding to your diet. Rich in vitamin C and fiber but low in calories, they have many nutritional benefits and can be integrated into a weight loss diet. You can enjoy strawberries whole or in a healthy salad, smoothie or dessert. Frozen strawberries can be a convenient (and equally nutritious) option if fresh strawberries aren’t in season or easy to find near you.