Strawberry is the most popular type of berry anywhere in the world. There are hundreds of varieties of strawberries that vary in size, color, taste and texture. But they all basically have the same characteristic heart shape and red flesh with seeds on the surface.
Although the strawberry is usually referred to as a fruit, it is actually an accessory or false fruit, since its red fleshy part doesn’t develop from the flower’s ovary, but is derived from the non-reproductive parts of the flower. The real fruits are achenes, the minute hard seeds of varying color (yellow, green or red), embedded in the strawberry surface.
Ripe, fresh strawberries are sweet and juicy. They can be eaten as they are, used to garnish a variety of sweets and desserts, or enjoyed as delicious refreshing juice and smoothies.
Strawberries are packed with a variety of anti-oxidant substances, including the flavonoid anthocyanidins (which gives the fruit its characteristic red color), vitamins C, E and beta-carotene.
They are also rich in dietary fiber, flavonoids, potassium, folate, vitamins of the B complex (B2, B5, B6), biotin, manganese, iodine and zinc; and very low in protein, sugar and calories, and virtually devoid of fat and cholesterol.
Strawberry is a highly nutrient dense fruit, with such huge amount of healthy substances that they are included in the list of so-called “superfoods”, tasty and packed full of nutrients.
Anti-anemic: Strawberries can help prevent and fight certain types of anemia, due to their high content in folate, which is essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin, the protein in red cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Anti-cancer: Strawberry is included in the list of top “superfoods” that help lower cancer death rates. This is because of the very high content of various anti-oxidants with flavonoids that work synergistically and more powerfully against oxidation and preventing damages caused by free radicals in our body.
Anti-coagulant: Strawberries contain moderate amount of acetylsalicylic acid, the same active ingredient found in aspirin. Although the amount of acetylsalicylic acid found in strawberries is not enough to relieve influenza symptoms, it can be actually helpful to thin blood and prevent blood clots formation, thereby reducing the work of the heart and improving its function.
Anti-inflammatory: Anthocyanidin is a unique flavonoid that makes strawberries a very powerful protector against inflammatory conditions such as asthma, gout, artherosclerosis, arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time it protects against intestinal bleeding.
Brain and mental health: It has been shown that, besides having an anti-anemic effect, folate found in strawberries can help improve memory, concentration and the brain’s ability to process information. It is also essential for preventing brain defects in babies during pregnancy.
Digestive health: Due to their high content in vitamin C, strawberries stimulate the secretion of salivary and gastric juices, thereby improving the digestion of starchy and protein foods. In addition, fiber contained in strawberries effectively reduces constipation and cleans the colon, with a beneficial detox effect for the body.
Diuretic: The high content in potassium found in strawberries enhances diuresis, which contributes to detoxifying the body, as well as regulating blood pressure.
Heart health: Anti-oxidants found in strawberries, and especially vitamin C and anthocyanidins, may help protect arteries from damage, as well as preventing the formation of blood clots within blood vessels.
Immune system: Strawberries are very rich in vitamin C, which plays a key role in enhancing immune system function, as well as in preventing and fighting infectious diseases such as flu and cold.
Mood: Eating strawberries and drinking strawberry juice stimulate the release of serotonin, which improves mood and is responsible for a feeling of relaxation and a general sense of well-being.
Strawberries are very delicate so are being sprayed with pesticides to prevent them being destroyed by pests. Choose organic if possible.
If non-organic, you can soak them in clean water and a cupful of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of sea salt for 10 minutes; then rinse to remove the pesticide residues where possible.
Add sliced strawberries in fruit or green salads, or in plain yogurt. Strawberries would mix well with banana for a nice delicious and nutritious smoothie.
Strawberries are one of the foods most commonly associated with allergic reactions, but this is only because of its very potent and powerful anti-oxidant agents that reacts with a toxic body, triggering bodily reaction with symptoms like hives and itchiness.
Strawberries contain moderate levels of oxalates. Thus, individuals with a history of calcium oxalate should limit their consumption of them.
Image Source: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/strawberriesgrowing.jpg