Magda Rod May 30, 2014
Yes it’s that time of year again, when the berries are ripe for the picking and enjoying. Although they have become increasingly available year-round, they are at the peak of their season from April through July when they are the most delicious and most abundant. Some people mark June with the Full Strawberry Moon, which got its name because the Algonquin tribes knew it as a sign to gather ripening fruit.
Fragrant and sweet, strawberries are one of the most popular types of berry in the world — and for good reason. Read below to learn how these little sweet hearts can benefit the organ they resemble — the heart — and more.
- Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: According to a Harvard School of Public Health study, women who eat three or more servings of strawberries a week have a lower risk of suffering a heart attack. Strawberries contain the dietary flavonoid anthocyanin, which may benefit the heart by improving blood flow and countering the build-up of plaque, reducing blood pressure and inflammation. The fiber and potassium in strawberries also support heart health.
- Anti Inflammatory: The colorful pigments of berries (polyphenols) are known to have antioxidant activity. Strawberries lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body. Antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints, which can cause arthritis and can also lead to heart disease. Research suggests we have to eat 3 or more servings of strawberries to reap these benefits, so eat up!
- Anti Cancer: The flavonoid content in strawberries causes the body to interfere with the stages of development of cancer cells, preventing their ability to multiply. Cancer benefits from strawberries are best documented in cases of breast, cervical and esophageal cancer.
- Antioxidant Powerhouse: Studies suggest that consumption of berry fruits, including strawberries, may have beneficial effects against oxidative stress mediated diseases such as cancer. Strawberries are one of the most highly concentrated antioxidant fruits. Antioxidants help fight carcinogens and LDL, the bad cholesterol which can lead to heart disease. The powerful antioxidants in strawberries work against free radicals, inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation in the body.
- Blood Pressure: Due to their high potassium content, strawberries are recommended to those with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body. A low potassium intake is just as big of a risk factor in developing high blood pressure as a high sodium intake.
- Immunity Boosting: 1 serving, about 8 strawberries or 1 cup, provides more vitamin C than an orange, about 85mg, or 150% of your daily requirement.
- Nutrient Dense: The massive nutrition packed into these sweet little guys might warrant “superfood” status. Strawberries are a very good source of dietary fiber (3 grams per cup), iodine and folate. Plus, they are a good source of copper, potassium, biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Aid in Weight Management: Strawberries’ low calorie and high nutritional content make them an excellent choice to include in your diet when watching your weight. They also contain anthocyanins which stimulate the burning of stored fat in the body to use as fuel.
- Help the brain: Studies suggest that antioxidant-rich berries, including strawberries, may help improve learning and reverse age-related cognitive decline.
Who knew that this sweet little fruit could pack so much nutritional punch! Shopping tip: choose medium-sized berries that are firm, plump and deep red; once picked, they don’t ripen further. As you’re estimating your serving size, keep in mind that 8 large strawberries count as 1 cup.