Benefits of Strawberries
There is something extraordinary about strawberries.
Perhaps it’s their bright red color or that they are one of the first fruits of the season. But did you know that strawberries are not only delicious, but they also offer a host of health benefits?
One of the strawberries’ most impressive health benefits is their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are essential for fighting inflammation and protecting cells from damage.
Strawberries are especially rich in a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins (Khoo, Azlan, Tang, Lim 2017). These antioxidants give strawberries their characteristic red color and have been linked to several health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved heart health. These seasonal berries are also a good source of vitamin C, another important antioxidant that helps boost immunity and protect cells from damage.
The anthocyanins in strawberries may also help protect against heart disease. According to a 2010 study (Basu, Rhone, Lyons 2010), the antioxidants in strawberries may help reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation, improving blood cholesterol levels, and lowering blood pressure. In addition to their high antioxidant content, strawberries are also a good source of fiber. Fiber is vital for heart health because it helps reduce cholesterol levels and prevents plaque buildup in the arteries. Meanwhile, Potassium, another mineral found in strawberries, helps regulate blood pressure.
Certain cancers, like colon cancer, have been linked to inflammation. Because of their high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content, strawberries may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer. A 2016 review (Kristo, Klimis-Zacas, Sikalidis 2016) found that strawberries are especially effective at preventing gastrointestinal and breast cancer. Other research (Xue, Aziz, et al 2001)has shown that the ellagic acid in strawberries has been shown to prevent the growth of cancer cells and the formation of tumors.
Ellagic acid is a type of polyphenol, a plant compound that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Polyphenols are recognized as some of the most potent cancer-fighting compounds in fruits and vegetables.
So, if you’re looking for a delicious way to fight cancer, add some strawberries to your diet.
Strawberries may also help improve cognitive function and protect against age-related cognitive decline. Annals of Neurology (Devore, Kang, Breteler, Grodstein 2012) published a study in 2012 that found that older women who regularly ate strawberries had a lower risk of cognitive decline. The authors believe that the high antioxidant content of strawberries is responsible for their brain-protective effects, particularly flavonoids.
Flavonoids are also a type of polyphenol that has been linked to improved cognitive function. One example found in strawberries is catechin, which is also present in green tea. Catechin has been shown to improve memory and protect against cognitive decline.
In addition to their flavonoid content, strawberries are also a good source of folic acid. Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin that’s important for brain health. It helps produce neurotransmitters, which are responsible for communication between cells in the brain.
Vitamin K and Magnesium, both present in strawberries, are necessary for a healthy immune system. Vitamin K is necessary for producing white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infection. On the other hand, magnesium helps regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. A 2018 study found that magnesium deficiency was linked to increased inflammation and a higher risk of infection (Nielsen. 2018).
Adding strawberries to your diet is a delicious way to increase your intake of these critical nutrients.
Strawberries are a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet. These little red berries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that offer a variety of health benefits. This low glycemic fruit can serve as a healthy snack or a sweet addition to any meal. Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to pick up a pint of strawberries. Your body will thank you!
Basu, A., Rhone, M., & Lyons, T. J. (2010). Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutrition reviews, 68(3), 168–177. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00273.x
Devore ScD, Elizabeth E., Kang ScD, Jae Hee, Breteler MD, Monique M. B., Grodstein ScD PhD, Francine. (2012). Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Annuals of Neurology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.23594
Khoo, H. E., Azlan, A., Tang, S. T., & Lim, S. M. (2017). Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. Food & nutrition research, 61(1), 1361779. https://doi.org/10.1080/16546628.2017.1361779
Kristo, A. S., Klimis-Zacas, D., & Sikalidis, A. K. (2016). Protective Role of Dietary Berries in Cancer. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 5(4), 37. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox5040037
Nielsen F. H. (2018). Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives. Journal of inflammation research, 11, 25–34. https://doi.org/10.2147/JIR.S136742
Xue, H., Aziz, R. M., Sun, N., Cassady, J. M., Kamendulis, L. M., Xu, Y., Stoner, G. D., & Klaunig, J. E. (2001). Inhibition of cellular transformation by berry extracts. Carcinogenesis, 22(2), 351–356. https://doi.org/10.1093/carcin/22.2.351