Amazing Health Benefits Of Strawberries: Berry Power Every Time!
Health Benefits Of Strawberries
Whether you’re trying to bring down cholesterol levels, manage diabetes better, ward off dementia, or even fight cancer, strawberries could help substantially. These nutrient-rich berries are antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory and can help your bones stay strong, your skin look better, and even beat allergies and inflammatory conditions.
Most people don’t need much motivation to have a juicy strawberry or two. In fact, the hard part can be stopping yourself from binging! But if you’ve been thinking strawberries are just a sinful treat, stop right there. These bursts of red tart-sweetness are chock-full of goodness and are great for health too. Here’s what you should know about strawberries:
1. Are Packed With Vitamins And Minerals
Strawberries are a low-calorie, high-fiber food with 3.3 gm of fiber to a cup of the sliced fruit and just 53 calories to this serving.1 This makes them a great option if you need to restrict your calorie intake or up your fiber consumption due to health concerns. Fiber is known to be great for heart health, for instance.
Strawberries contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and are low calorie too boot. What’s even great is their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components like ellagic acid, quercetin, and anthocyanin which are renowned for their health benefits.2 Which is why having these fruit could be just what the doctor ordered! Here’s a closer look at how they can also help you get in good amounts of nutrients you need on a daily basis to stay healthy. A cup of sliced strawberries offers:3 4
- Vitamin C: 97.6 mg (108.4%DV)
- Manganese: 0.64 mg (27.8% DV)
- Folate: 40 mcg (10% DV)
- Potassium: 254 mg (5.4% DV)
- Magnesium: 22 mg (5.2% DV)
- Phosphorus: 40 mg (3.2% DV)
- Vitamin K: 3.7 mcg (3.1% DV)
- Calcium 27 mg (2.1% DV)
And that’s not all! There are plenty more reasons to add strawberries to your grocery list, as you’ll see below.
2. Fight Memory Or Cognitive Decline
The water-soluble plant pigments called anthocyanins in strawberries have a range of biomedical functions and can help offset some of the oxidative stress your body experiences as it ages. This is besides the anti-inflammatory effect they exert. These antioxidants found in berries are also known to help improve cognitive brain function, which can be invaluable in protecting you against degenerative memory problems.5
Researchers have found that the dietary intake of more flavonoids, particularly from berries like strawberries, could slow the rate of cognitive decline in older adults. The anthocyanidins and other antioxidants in them may be responsible for this effect. In one study, they demonstrated that women having 2 or more servings of strawberries a week fared better and experienced less overall memory decline than those consuming under a serving a week.6
3. Help Manage Diabetes And Reduce Diabetic Complications
One study that focused on long-term data found that women who had a greater intake of berries could delay their memory decline by as much as 2.5 years on average.7
Consuming strawberries regularly might be an option even for diabetics owing to its high fiber content. Its inflammation-fighting properties also come in handy, modulating inflammatory processes in the body.8 Berries like strawberries are also considered generally low on the glycemic index (GI) and can be consumed as part of low GI diet, which many with diabetes may be on. And this low GI fruit intake, alongside an overall low GI diet, is linked to better glycemic control, as seen in lower HbA1c numbers. So having strawberries could help you better manage your type 2 diabetes.9
To boot, for those with type 2 diabetes, the risk of cardiac disease is also very real. Low GI fruit intake with a low GI diet has also been associated with reduced blood pressure, one of the risk factors for cardiac disease.10
If weight loss is on your mind, eating a fruit- and veggie-rich diet is always a good idea since these foods are low fat and often lower in calorie than most processed foods or things like meat or dairy. Strawberries with their high fiber content and pectin can also keep you feeling full longer.11
One study also found that having fisetin, a substance found in the fruit, could potentially minimize diabetic complications like neuropathy or kidney disease. Strawberries contain more fisetin than most other fruit – 160 µg/g compared to apples and persimmons which have five- to ten-fold less.12
4. Have A Protective Effect On The Heart
For those looking to eat protective foods for the heart, strawberries can be a great addition. The antioxidants they contain can help inhibit the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol in the body. They can also help reduce the risk of blood clot formation (thrombosis) and improve circulatory function by improving vascular endothelial function. All these combined can bring down your risk of a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke.13
Some experts are quoted as saying three or more servings of strawberries a week can help protect the heart function and keep it healthy, reducing the risk of a heart attack.14 You’ll need to arrive at a suitable amount basis your overall diet and the guidance of a trained nutritionist if you have existing heart problems.
Strawberries also contain quercetin which is an anti-inflammatory substance. Inflammation plays a critical role in atherosclerosis or plaque buildup in the arteries, a precursor to heart disease. Animal studies have shown that, along with moderate exercise, quercetin intake could possibly help reduce plaque formation in your arteries.15
5. Fight High Blood Pressure
Strawberries are a means to get in dietary potassium and magnesium which balance the blood-pressure-raising effects of sodium. Potassium, a vasodilator, specifically helps relax your blood vessels to ease blood pressure. In addition, it also reduces the rigidity of the blood vessels, which can help those with hypertension.16
6. Help Bone Health
The potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K that the berries contain are also great for your bone health.17 Researchers suggest that consuming berries could be a means of protecting yourself from osteopenia or weakening bones. The vitamins, phytochemicals, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are great on their own, but add to that the ability of these micronutrients to modulate the activity of some key enzymes as well as genes, and you have a potential nutritional remedy to save your bones!18
7. Ease Allergies
If allergies and inflammation have been causing trouble for you, having some strawberries every week could help ease your woes. The quercetin they contain is anti-inflammatory, stimulates the immune system, and inhibits histamine release. It also exhibits antiviral activity.19 This is why it may help relieve some of those classic signs of an allergy like a runny nose, hives, or watery eyes.
8. Cut Inflammation-Linked Problems Like Arthritis
According to one piece of research, women who had 16 or more strawberries a week had lower levels of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation. Such inflammation is linked to arthritis as well as heart disease, making it a potential remedy to protect you from these ailments.20
9. Help Eye Health
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, strawberries make a great food for the eyes. The vitamin C they contain has antioxidant properties which can cut your risk of developing cataracts.21 They also lower blood pressure and inflammation. High blood pressure plays a part in bringing on macular degeneration, which results in problems with reading, driving, and recognizing faces. The anthocyanins also help prevent arterial blockages that could deprive your retina of adequate oxygen supply and cause eye problems.22
10. Boost Gut Health And Ease Constipation
Prebiotic fiber like what strawberries contain are great for your gut health. They help the “good” gut bacteria thrive in your intestines, helping with overall health.23 And don’t forget that the 3.3 gm of fiber you get per cup of the fruit can also help with problems like constipation. Dietary fiber is known to help improve stool frequency in those with a constipation problem.24
11. Improve Immune System Health
Besides helping your gut health, which can impact your overall immunity as well, strawberries also contain vitamin C, that all-important nutrient for your immune system. Vitamin C is known to help boost your body’s immune system by triggering the production of antibodies. And surprising though it may sound, strawberries trump some citrus fruits like oranges when it comes to vitamin C content.25 Vitamin C taken in adequate amounts can help cut the duration of a common cold and other respiratory tract infections. It could even help improve outcomes and possibly reduce the incidence of infections like diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia.26
12. Have Anti-Aging Benefits For Your Hair, Skin, And Nails
Simply mash up some strawberries and honey and cream and apply it to your face to keep it soft and supple. Rinse away after about 20 minutes and gently pat dry your skin with a clean soft towel or cloth. If that seems like too much work, just slicing chilled strawberries and placing them on your face can instantly revive you and perk up that skin.
If you want great-looking skin and strong hair and nails, getting enough biotin and ellagic acid can help – and strawberries contain both. On the flip side, inadequate amounts of biotin in your body can even bring on hair fall.27 Apart from the benefits of eating strawberries, some people swear by strawberries and yogurt as a hair mask. Use it before your shampoo and leave in for about 10 minutes before rinsing off.
Ellagic acid helps keep your skin from sagging by boosting collagen production and protecting your skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation and the diseases it can cause.28 The vitamin C in the fruit, when used topically, can boost collagen production, protect against both UVA and UVB radiation, and lighten any spots or hyperpigmentation you may have. In addition, it also helps fight inflammatory conditions of the skin.29
13. Have Anti-Cancer Potential
While there’s still a long way to go by way of research, ellagic acid does seem to help ward off or fight certain cancers like those of the lung, bladder, breast, and skin. It does this by attacking cancer on multiple fronts – first by virtue of its antioxidant properties, but also because it helps deactivate some carcinogens in the body. It even slows down the reproduction of these tumor cells, putting the brakes on cancer.30 Strawberries may also help protect you against esophagus cancer due to its vitamin C content and lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer thanks to the dietary fiber it packs in.31
14. Reduce Risk Of Birth Defects During Pregnancy
If you have a baby on board, strawberries take on a whole new meaning. The folate they contain is worth its weight in gold when it comes to helping healthy pregnancies. Your body needs this vitamin when you are pregnant for the normal and healthy development of your baby. Fall short and you put your baby at risk of having birth defects due to improper development of the brain and spinal cord.32 The berries can help raise serum folate levels and may even benefit those with a previous folate deficiency.33
Using Strawberries In Your Diet
It isn’t too hard to include strawberries in your diet. Simply add them to you daily five of veggies and fruits. Have them plain, dunk them in chocolate, or have them with cream. Boost your morning oatmeal or cereal with a few of these berries. Make a snack of strawberries in yogurt with some nuts and seeds sprinkled over for a healthy pick-me-up. Or indulge in a strawberry tart. The adventurous can even pair the berries with main meals in salads or in sticky sweet sauces to go with meats. Dried strawberries can be a wonderful way to tap the benefits of this berry all year round. Freeze the dried berries and add them to smoothies or desserts or even powder them up and scatter them over salads or yogurt for some tart sweetness.
Needless to say, if you have an allergy to it, strawberries are off the cards. But what about everyone else? In general, normal dietary intake is fine for most healthy people as long as you are having a balanced diet and not going too heavy on the berries. However, thanks to its ability to prevent clot formation, it is best to avoid it a few weeks before any surgery to prevent excessive bleeding. If you are already on blood thinning medication, ask your doctor if you plan to eat strawberries regularly. Also be careful about what brand you buy and wash them well before you use them. They are often high in pesticides and you wouldn’t want to have those along with the fruit!
References [ + ]
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Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.