There are endless reasons to love strawberries. This juicy and sweet, red heart-shaped fruit, is not only delicious but also offers several nutritional benefits that make it a bonafide superfood.
What is a Strawberry?
Strawberries (Fragaria) grows in many parts of the world. Despite what its name suggests, it is not a berry. Strawberries belong to the rose family. This fruit is packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can benefit not only your immune system but also your skin. If you aren’t a fan of this fruit, these health benefits of strawberries will surely make you one.
Strawberries Boost Your Immunity
Unlike most mammals, humans can’t naturally produce vitamin C, so it’s important to get the nutrient from your diet. Strawberries are among the best sources of vitamin C, with one serving providing you about 51.5 mg, which is already half of your daily requirement.
One cup of strawberries, which is equivalent to about 5 large pieces, can provide your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in boosting the body’s immunity to help you avoid sickness or recover more quickly.
Strawberries Can Help Maintain Healthy Vision
Strawberries contain antioxidant properties that may help prevent cataracts, a condition characterized by the clouding over of the eye lens that can lead to blindness in older people. Vitamin C protects the eyes from exposure to free radicals caused by the sun’s UV rays, which can harm the protein in the eye lens. Vitamin C also helps strengthen the eye’s cornea and retina.
The high vitamin C content of strawberries can prevent the degeneration of the eye’s optic nerves, macular degeneration, vision defects, dry eyes, and increased susceptibility to infections.
A study published in 2018 in the journal Nutrients found that vitamin C can repair eye tissues, and concluded that foods high in vitamin C can help prevent glaucoma, a condition that impairs eyesight due to damage in the optic nerve.
Strawberries Can Help Prevent Cancer
Vitamin C in strawberries is an antioxidant that can help prevent cancer by boosting the body’s immunity and defense. But besides vitamin C, strawberries also contain ellagic acid, a phytochemical that has been shown to suppress the growth of cancer cells. Lutein and zeathancins are two other antioxidants found in strawberries that can neutralize free radicals and their negative effect on our cells.
Strawberries Can Keep Your Wrinkles At Bay
Our collagen production naturally declines as we age. The ellagic acid in strawberries can prevent collagen destruction, which is the main cause of wrinkle formation. According to researchers from a university in Korea, ellagic acid can also prevent the inflammatory response of human cells caused by harmful sun exposure, which is another factor that contributes to the formation of wrinkles.
Vitamin C in strawberries is also a powerful ingredient that keeps the signs of premature aging at bay. According to some studies, consuming vitamin C can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Research also found that people who consume more vitamin C have fewer wrinkles. So, if you want to have healthier, younger-looking skin free of wrinkles, make sure to get your daily intake of vitamin C by eating strawberries.
Strawberries Can Lower Your Bad Cholesterol
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, around 655,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, eating strawberries can also benefit heart health. The ellagic acid in strawberries, along with flavonoids like anthocyanin, catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol found in the fruit, have antioxidant benefits that inhibit the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol that may cause plaque formation in the arteries. The anti-inflammatory effect of ellagic acid and flavonoids also helps combat chronic inflammation that can lead to heart disease.
According to research by the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center in Toronto, adding strawberries to a low-cholesterol diet reduced oxidative damage and blood lipids that can contribute to the development of heart disease and diabetes.
A study by the Harvard Medical School suggests that young and middle-aged women who ate at least three servings of a half cup of strawberries lowered their risk for a heart attack by 34%. The said benefit may be due to the high levels of anthocyanins in strawberries, which relax the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure that ultimately prevents cardiovascular problems. Strawberries are also high in fiber, vitamin C, and folate that reduce the cholesterol in the vessels and arteries.
Strawberries Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation can cause several health problems. Chronic inflammation has been linked to serious health conditions like stroke, heart attacks, and cancer. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberries come from the antioxidants and phytochemicals they contain. The fruit can help to reduce joint inflammation caused by arthritis, which can also lead to cardiovascular disease.
According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, women who eat at least 16 pieces of strawberries per week have a lower risk of having elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which indicates inflammation in the body.
Strawberries Help Regulate Your Blood Pressure
Strawberries are an excellent source of potassium, providing at least 134 mg of the nutrient per serving. Potassium is another nutrient that benefits heart health. It can help with blood pressure regulation and counteracts the negative effects of sodium that’s a known trigger for high blood pressure. In the U.S, only around 2 percent of the population meets the recommended daily intake of potassium.
Strawberries Boost Brain Function
Potassium also increases blood flow to the brain, thus improving brain function. According to the Harvard research that studied young and middle-aged women, high consumption of flavonoids, particularly from strawberries and blueberries, lowers the risk of cognitive decline in older people.
Strawberries Boost Your Fiber Intake
One serving of strawberries contains about 2g of fiber, a nutrient necessary for healthy digestion. Lack of fiber can cause digestive problems like constipation and diverticulitis, a condition that occurs when there’s inflammation or infection in the intestines. About 50 percent of people aged 60 and above suffer from diverticulitis. Fiber can also help prevent type 2 diabetes by delaying the blood’s absorption of sugar.
Strawberries Aid In Weight Management
People who want to lose weight would benefit from eating strawberries. The book 25 Fat Burning Juice Recipes states that strawberries boost the production of the fat-burning hormones adiponectin and leptin. These hormones help suppress appetite, lower blood sugar, and reduce body weight and fat to promote weight loss.
Managing your weight can help prevent type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and improve your overall wellbeing. Strawberries are fat-free and contain only 4 grams of sugar per serving. They are also low in sodium. A serving of this fruit only contains 28 calories.
Strawberries Support Prenatal Health
A serving of strawberries contains 21mg of folic acid, a nutrient necessary for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. This B-vitamin has a crucial role in the development of a baby’s brain, skull, and spinal cord during the early stages of pregnancy.
Whitens teeth: Strawberries can help you maintain your pearly whites thanks to their malic acid content that works to naturally whiten your teeth. Crush the fruit and mix it with baking soda, then leave the mixture on your teeth for 5 minutes before brushing and rinsing as usual.
Prevents dandruff: The antioxidants, ellagic acid, and vitamins in strawberries moisturize the hair, prevent dandruff, and combat hair loss. Crush 5-6 pieces of strawberries and mix it with 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Massage the mixture in your damp hair and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse your hair and shampoo as usual. Next time you’re craving something sweet but healthy, bite into some juicy strawberries to enjoy its benefits!