In reality strawberries are not a fruit nor are they a berry, they are an overgrown receptacle of the flower! Once they are picked they do not ripen any further, which is why they need to be picked when ready to eat.
This member of the rose family was initially cultivated in ancient Rome, but has now become one of the most popular berry fruits on the planet, with benefits for the heart and which has aphrodisiac properties.
Strawberry Nutrition Facts
Strawberries fall in the top twenty fruits, in terms of antioxidant benefits. They contain no cholesterol or saturated fat, hardly any sodium, and very few calories, only 50 in a one cup serving. They are very high in manganese, vitamin C and dietary fiber, and high in potassium. One serving, approximately eight strawberries provide more vitamin C than a whole orange!
A one cup serving of strawberries also provides respectable amounts of folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, vitamin E, and K, along with the minerals iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc. The real strength of strawberries lies in its large array of antioxidants like anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin and kaempferol to name a few.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Vitamin C has long been associated with immunity. It is known to help protect against colds and coughs, and many other infections. Vitamin C instigates white blood cells which are the first line of defence in the body. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant that neutralizes harmful free radicals, preventing them from mutating healthy cell DNA into cancerous cells.
Anthocyanins are a group of flavonoids found in strawberries which is associated with 32% reduction in the risk of heart attacks in middle aged and young women. According to one study carried out Norwich Medical School in the UK, Quercetin is another flavonoid found in strawberries that is an anti-inflammatory agent and is believed to play a role in averting atherosclerosis.
It provides protection against low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), and is also anti-carcinogenic.
Strawberries also help to lower homocysteine levels in the blood, an amino acid associated with damage to the inner lining of the arteries. The high potassium and antioxidant content of strawberries is believed to play a role in the reduction of blood clots which are linked with strokes.
According to several studies the incidence of asthma is generally reduced with an increase in the intake of nutrients like vitamin C, of which strawberries have an abundant supply. And because of its antioxidant properties, strawberries also aid in relieving symptoms of allergies.
Some recent studies show that eating roughly 35 strawberries a day can be helpful in preventing difficulties like neuropathy and kidney disease resulting from diabetes. Folic acid in strawberries is needed to prevent neural tube defects in babies, and the folate may aid patients suffering from depression.
So if you’re pregnant, or suffer post natal depression after you’ve had a baby, eat strawberries – they will help you.
How to Make a Strawberry Maca and Smoothie
- 1 cup strawberries (frozen for a thicker smoothie)
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 table spoon maca
You may also like to add vanilla extract, frozen banana or dates – for a twist in the flavor!
Just whack all the ingredients in your favorite blender, switch it on until you have a thick and smooth-ie!