The amazing health benefits of strawberry include improved eye care, proper brain function, relief from high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, and various cardiovascular diseases. The polyphenolic and antioxidant content of strawberries makes them beneficial for improving the immune system, preventing various types of cancers, and for reducing the signs of premature aging.
What is a Strawberry?
A strawberry (Fragaria) is a sweet, red heart-shaped fruit, which is much loved for its delicious taste. Native to many parts of the world, it belongs to the rose family and has a distinct, fragrant aroma. Despite its name, a strawberry is not a berry botanically. It is an aggregate accessory fruit, which means that the fleshy part is not derived from the plant ovaries. Instead, each visible seed covering its outside is borne from one of the ovaries of the flower. Also, the strawberry leaves can be eaten raw, cooked, or even used to make tea.
Strawberries grow in bushes and are seasonal fruits that also boost your health. There are three types:
- June-bearing strawberry
- Everbearing strawberry
- Day-neutral strawberry variety
Strawberries are packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. They are low-calorie, fiber-rich fruits, which are abundant in antioxidants and polyphenols. A cup of strawberries contains only 49 calories, provides 3g of fiber, and 12g of carbohydrates.
Health Benefits of Strawberry
Let’s look at the most popular health benefits of strawberries in detail below.
Improves Heart Function
Strawberries have high levels of heart-healthy antioxidants like ellagic acid and flavonoids like anthocyanin, catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol. These phenolic compounds lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by inhibiting the formation of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. They also relax the blood vessels, causing improved blood flow and preventing cardiovascular problems. Additionally, the high fiber content, vitamin C, and folate in strawberries form an ideal cardiac health pack as they effectively reduce cholesterol in the arteries and vessels.
Strawberries contain salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and ellagic acid, which reduce hyperpigmentation, prevent acne, and remove dead skin cells. For a face mask for glowing skin, crush 4-5 strawberries and mix it with a tablespoon of honey. Apply on the face, leave it till dry, and wash off.
Vitamin C in strawberries boosts collagen production, tones the skin, and has an anti-aging effect. Also, a study showed that its extract is abundant in anthocyanins and protects against ultraviolet radiation.
Eating strawberries can prevent eye conditions like dry eyes, degeneration of the optic nerves, macular degeneration, vision defects, and increased susceptibility to infections. Antioxidants in strawberries, such as flavonoids, phenolic phytochemicals, and ellagic acid, can help avoid almost all eye problems because they protect against free radical scavenging activity.
One more condition strawberries can fix is the disturbance in ocular pressure, the pressure within the eyes, which can be harmful. They also contain potassium, which helps in maintaining the correct pressure.
Strawberries are rich in potassium and magnesium, both of which are vasodilators, meaning that they reduce hypertension and the rigidity of arteries and blood vessels. This eases the flow of blood to various parts of the body and keeps them functioning at their full potential.
Vitamin C, folate, anthocyanins, quercetin, and kaempferol are just a few of the many flavonoids in strawberries that act as excellent antioxidants. Together, they form an excellent line of defense to fight cancer and tumor growth. Daily intake of strawberries is connected to a drastic reduction in the presence and metastasis of cancer cells. A study showed that freeze-dried strawberry powder showed results to prevent esophageal cancer.
Vitamin C present in strawberry boosts the immune system and helps in curing common cough and cold. A single serving has approximately 150% of your daily requirement of vitamin C!
Treats Arthritis & Gout
Strawberries are abundant in antioxidants and detoxifiers, which help reduce arthritis and gout pain. They also aid in preventing arthritic symptoms such as degeneration of muscles and tissues, drying up of the lubricating fluids in the joints, and accumulation of toxic substances and acids (such as uric acid) in the body.
Boosts Brain Function
Strawberries are rich in iodine, vitamin C, and phytochemicals, which help maintain the proper functioning of the nervous system. Potassium, in strawberries, also has been linked to an improved cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain. Furthermore, a research on older women showed that higher consumption of blueberries and strawberries, rich in anthocyanins and other flavonoids, is linked with a slower progression of cognitive decline.
Strawberries boost the production of the adiponectin and leptin, both of which are fat-burning hormones. They help reduce appetite, decrease glucose, and reduce body weight and fat, all of which promote weight loss.
Prevents Birth Defects
Folic acid in strawberries is a necessary nutrient, especially during pregnancy, as it helps in preventing birth defects. It is also important for ensuring optimal health during pregnancy.
Strawberries reduce elevated blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance produced by the liver that increases inflammation in the body. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that women who ate more than 16 strawberries in a week are 14% less likely to have elevated C-reactive protein levels.
Have a look at the benefits of Strawberry in the video below.
The anti-inflammatory power of the antioxidants in strawberries helps reduce the formation of blood clots that are linked with stroke.
Studies show that eating strawberries, which have a low glycemic index, can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, another study showed that eating strawberries improved glycemic control among diabetics.
The rich variety of antioxidants, ellagic acid, and vitamins help battle hair loss, moisturize the hair, and prevent dandruff.
For glossy hair, you can mix 5-6 crushed strawberries with 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Massage this into damp hair and rinse off after 10-15 minutes. Shampoo as usual. This works as a natural hair conditioner.
Strawberries contain malic acid, a natural teeth whitening agent. Mix the crushed fruit with baking soda until blended and put it on your teeth. Leave it on for 5 minutes and lightly use a toothbrush to whiten the teeth.
Treats Puffy Eyes
Strawberries help reduce the appearance of puffy eyes. For a quick fix, place slices of the fruit on your eyelids and relax for ten minutes.
Strawberries are often eaten raw directly or by adding them to fruit salads, custards, and various other recipes. They are also extensively used in processed food items, including ice creams, jams, jellies, squashes, syrups, confections, baked goods, chocolates, and even in medicines due to their extraordinarily rich flavor, taste, and color. But nothing beats fresh strawberries plucked from the bush and eaten raw!
How to select and store?
- Select organic, locally grown strawberries, as they are safe to eat and have a sweet, wholesome flavor.
- When you choose strawberries, look for the ones that are red and fragrant.
- The imported variety is available all year round.
- They are highly perishable and should be eaten in a couple of days.
- You can refrigerate them for a week or freeze them for up to six months.
Note: Strawberries have the highest level of pesticides, according to the USDA.
Strawberry Side Effects
Excessive consumption of strawberries can cause:
- Diarrhea and gas
- Liver disease
- Yellow skin (jaundice)
- Pain and swelling (inflammation) of the lining of the respiratory tract
- Gout, arthritis
- Nervous tension
- Water retention (edema)
- Kidney ailments, kidney stones
- Allergic reactions
So be careful of not having more a cupful of these fruits in a sitting.
Perhaps most importantly, strawberries and all of the associated foods that contain strawberries are delicious as well. Next time you are looking for something sweet, bite into some juicy strawberries and enjoy the benefits they have in store for you!