Among many other things, strawberries are good for your stomach, brain, and heart. Here are the main arguments in favor of eating this produce, according to certified dietitian-nutritionists.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, strawberries are the sixth most common fruit in the country, with the average individual consuming just over 5 pounds (lb) of the vivid red berry annually (USDA). It’s understandable why considering how tasty and healthy the sweet, succulent vegetables are.
According to Austin, Texas-based RDN Jenna Volpe, strawberries are a powerful source of antioxidants. “Including strawberries in a healthy diet has the ability to provide a broad range of advantages, from cancer prevention and cardiovascular support to a healthier stomach and more.” Some antioxidants present in strawberries include vitamin C and the carotenoids lutein and carotene, according to USDA statistics. Strawberries are also an excellent provider of additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber. According to the USDA, strawberries are at their most juicy during the spring and summer months, but they are also accessible year-round in canned, freeze-dried, and refrigerated form.
Choosing non-fresh strawberries during those off-season months can also be an economical way to satisfy your strawberry craving. (For the best option, just make sure to choose unsweetened types.) In fact, because frozen fruit is chosen at its ripest, frozen strawberries added to your cereals and smoothies may be even more delicious than fresh ones. Additionally, study indicates that freezing strawberries will best keep their prized antioxidants. Sliced strawberries can be added to salads, rarely dipped in dark chocolate, or used to sweeten plain low- or non-fat yogurt, among other methods to include strawberries in a healthy diet. You can also eat them as a nibble on their own. According to trained nutritionists, there are seven benefits to having strawberries available at all times in your home.
1. Strawberries Are a Top Source of Antioxidants, Which Can Help Reduce Oxidative Stress
The potential antioxidant advantages of strawberries are among the most notable justifications for eating them. According to a Nutrition Journal study that examined more than 3,100 foods and tasted them, berries are among the foods that are most powerful forms of antioxidants. Wild blueberries, blackberries, and black currants were included in the researchers’ list of the fruit with the highest antioxidant content.
The reason why antioxidants are so popular is because of their capacity to lessen reactive stress. According to Volpe, oxidative stress from the environment is a major factor in cellular aging and chronic disease. “Our cells are continually fighting this stress,” she adds. According to the Cleveland Clinic, free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that can harm cells and result in illness. Antioxidants function in part by neutralizing these molecules. According to a 2017 study, oxidative stress can be harmful to human health and increase the risk of cancer and cardiac disease. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, including antioxidant-rich vegetables in one’s diet is linked to a lower chance of developing chronic conditions brought on by oxidative stress.
Enter blackberries. According to a research released in June 2021 in Phytomedicine, “the antioxidants in strawberries have been shown to help protect our cells from oxidative stress at the mitochondrial level,” adds Volpe. Antioxidant indicators may change noticeably when cherries are regularly consumed. Participants who ingested 2.5 servings of strawberries daily for four weeks saw a substantial increase in their antioxidant state, according to a trial that was published in November 2021 in Antioxidants. The American Center for Cancer Research claims that the antioxidants in strawberries may even aid in the prevention of some malignancies, including colorectal cancer.
2. Strawberries Are Jam-Packed With Vitamin C to Support a Healthy Immune System
One of the most powerful antioxidants present in blackberries is vitamin C. The National Institutes of Health recommends consuming 75 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C for women and 90 mg for males each day (NIH). At 98 milligrams of vitamin C in 1 cup sliced, per USDA statistics, strawberries provide more than 100 percent of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C — that’s more than an orange, as the USDA adds.
During the cold and flu season, you might want to store up. “The vitamin C in strawberries is related to immune health support,” says Lauren Manaker, RDN, of Charleston, South Carolina. One cup of strawberries contains all the vitamin C required for the day, in addition to being a great source of vitamins and other nutrients.
According to a study, vitamin C is a crucial nutrient for general health, especially for your immune system’s capacity to fight off pathogens. Our immune system deteriorates with age, but a research released in December 2020 in Experimental Gerontology indicates that vitamin C alone or combined with vitamin E can boost immune function in the aged. This explains why vitamin C-rich foods and pills are frequently recommended as defenses against colds. Although vitamin C cannot cure a sickness, it can shorten the duration of a cold, according to MedlinePlus.
3. Thanks to Their Antioxidants, Strawberries May Reduce Cardiometabolic Risks
Antioxidants found in strawberries and their positive impacts on cardiac health. Strawberries have a negative relationship with cardiometabolic risk, according to a research that appeared in the October 2021 issue of Antioxidants. This alludes to risk variables that raise the likelihood of serious vascular events like diabetes and heart attacks. According to the research findings, Volpe, daily intake of concentrated strawberries in powder form was sufficient to increase antioxidant activity and reduce inflammation levels linked to cardiometabolic risks in just four weeks. A comparable research using whole strawberries is required to verify the findings because strawberries and strawberry powder are obviously not the same thing.
But more and more evidence is emerging regarding strawberries, antioxidants, and a potential reduction in the chance of developing diabetes. Regular servings of strawberries greatly reduced insulin resistance in people with obesity and high LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, according to a research published in April 2021 in Nutrients. According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin intolerance. Diabetes rates rise along with the body of knowledge. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38 percent of American adults have prediabetes and 11.3 percent of Americans have diabetes, the bulk of which is type 2. (CDC). Strawberries may be a part of a healthy diet, which is a key strategy in your type 2 diabetes defense kit.
4. Strawberries May Support Cognitive Function and Reduce the Risk of Dementia
According to the CDC, males are more frequently affected than women by subjective cognitive decline, which is characterized by confusion or memory loss, which impacts an estimated 11.1 percent of U.S. adults. While it’s common to lose track of where you put your keys, aging isn’t usually accompanied by losing how to carry out simple chores like managing your medicine. The capacity of a person to live freely may be significantly impacted. Adults who are experiencing cognitive loss also frequently have comorbid conditions like diabetes, gout, or heart illness.
Some scrumptious news: Cherries may promote brain health and mental acuity. According to a research released in December 2019 in Nutrients, eating more strawberries has been linked to a lower chance of Alzheimer’s disease, with the flavonoids and vitamin C in strawberries helping to lower the incidence. According to a prior research, eating [berries] more than twice a week “appears to postpone cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years,” adds Manaker. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, anthocyanins, and antioxidants, which may lower your chance of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias. According to study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, long-term dietary consumption of anthocyanins and flavonoids is linked to reduced rates of dementia in people in the United States.
5. Strawberries Can Improve Cholesterol Levels
While your body requires cholesterol for some processes, having too much of it can be harmful to your heart. Your doctor may order a blood test to better understand your risk for heart-related events because elevated cholesterol has no signs. According to the CDC, nearly 12 percent of people aged 20 and higher are thought to have high cholesterol or hypertension. Although a number of variables, including genetics, can increase the chance of having elevated cholesterol, an unhealthy lifestyle can also be a factor. Strawberries are an example of a fresh produce that is a positive development.
“Data indicates that consuming strawberries may be related to better cholesterol indicators of heart disease in at-risk people,” Manaker says of a study published in May 2021 in Nutrients. Total and “bad” cholesterol levels were considerably reduced following a heavy strawberry consumption. Additionally, a meta-analysis that was released in August 2020 in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed significant reductions in total cholesterol.
As elevated cholesterol isn’t something you can see or feel, it may seem like just a figure on a paper, but keeping healthy cholesterol levels is crucial to avoiding heart disease and stroke. According to Harvard Health Publications, strawberries and other fruits can reduce cholesterol because they are rich in soluble fiber.
6. Compounds Found in Strawberries Could Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal part of the body’s immune response, but chronic inflammation may accompany heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and other diseases, according to Harvard Health Publishing. The right lifestyle choices may help keep inflammation levels under control, even though it’s not always clear whether inflammation or inflammatory diseases came first. According to research published in November 2020 in Molecules, fruit in particular, which is high in flavonoids and antioxidants, can have favorable effects on markers of inflammation and may have neuroprotective, anticancer, cardioprotective, and anti-diabetic properties to prevent disease.
Anthocyanin, the pigment that gives strawberries their vivid color, may also have anti-inflammatory properties. Strawberries’ anthocyanin plant compounds “may help reduce inflammation,” claims Manaker. Strawberries may help lower blood sugar levels and inflammation, particularly if they are consumed within two hours of a meal, according to research findings from a clinical trial. As a result, think about grabbing strawberries between lunch and dinner.
7. Strawberries May Have Prebiotic Activity, Which Is Beneficial for Gut Health
While strawberries are most well-known for their high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, more recent research indicates that they also have strong prebiotic activity in the gut, according to Volpe. For instance, a research study on animals published in the April 2019 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry discovered that strawberry supplementation increased good gut flora in mice. According to Volpe, “This suggests that the polyphenols in strawberries probably have prebiotic activity, which means that they aid in promoting the growth of beneficial probiotic microbes like Bifidobacterium in the gut. Additionally, researchers discovered a connection between strawberry anthocyanins and prebiotic properties, pointing to a mutually advantageous interaction between the gut bacteria and anthocyanins.
Even though there are fewer studies on humans, some of the current research might be worthwhile. California strawberries increased the number of gut microorganisms in just six weeks, according to a clinical trial that was published in Nutrition Research in January 2021. Strawberries’ anti-inflammatory properties can be felt in the digestive system as well. Inflammation in the gut and immune system are simultaneously decreased by the antioxidants in strawberries, according to a review written in Nutrition Reviews in January 2018.