Yummy, juicy and mouth-watering, we love to enjoy strawberries in the form of ice creams, shakes, smoothies and other desserts.
Strawberry is also called the queen of fruits for its sweet tart unique taste and its versatility. The strawberry fruit is not just limited to deliciousness but has many health benefits as well. It has been named as one of the top 10 antioxidant foods. Strawberries have the maximum nutrients in comparison to all the other fruits.
Let’s look at the health benefits of strawberries and how we can include them in our daily health regimen.
Strawberries – The Luscious Berries!
- They are members of the rose family and have been grown in the wild for centuries.
- The name strawberry is a misnomer as it is not a berry at all. It is considered as an accessory fruit as its fleshy part has not been derived from the ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. It is an aggregate of several small fruits each containing one seed called ‘achene’. Thus, it is the only fruit whose seeds are visible from outside.
- Today strawberries are widely available and are consumed either fresh or as part of processed foods like juices, pies, ice creams, jams, milkshakes and chocolates due to their juicy texture and sweetness.
- Strawberry extracts are used as preservatives in a variety of products. There are different varieties that vary in size, shape and color. Some strawberry fruits are even off white or yellowish in color.
- The smaller varieties have a stronger flavor than the bigger ones which are generally watery.
Benefits Of Strawberry:
Apart from being extremely delicious, strawberries are rich in vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with benefits for health, skin and hair.
Skin Benefits Of Strawberry:
Strawberries don’t just satisfy your taste-buds, they are proven beauty enhancers that can work wonders for your skin. Strawberry extracts are often used in beauty products of leading brands. Apart from consumption, it can be used on your skin as a facial mask, scrub or toner to give you a glowing skin. Some of its benefits for skin are as follows:
1. Excellent Skin Cleanser:
- Strawberry has great cleansing properties.
- Strawberry extracts are often used as an ingredient in skin cleansers, face washes, refreshing bubble baths and rejuvenating face masks as they contain vitamin C, salicylic acid, antioxidants and exfoliants.
- Salicylic acid removes dead cells from the face while tightening the pores.
- Ellagic acid being an antioxidant combats skin damage to maintain its youth and freshness. Thus, strawberries remove impurities and soften the skin as well as soothe allergies and other irritants and provide protection against pollution.
2. Improves Complexion:
- Strawberry juice has skin lightening properties. It is effective in removing age spots and freckles.
- You can squeeze the fruit to extract its juice and place it in a small cup.
- Apply the juice all over your face with a cotton ball and rinse off with lukewarm water after 10 to 15 minutes to get a glowing complexion.
3. Skin Toner:
- Strawberries can be used as a skin toner.
- Grind them to extract the juice. Mix two teaspoons of this juice with 50 ml of rose water and refrigerate it.
- You can use it instead of your regular skin toner to achieve wrinkle free, blemish free and younger looking skin. This juice can be stored up to 10 days.
4. Protection from Ultraviolet Radiation:
Strawberries contains ellagic acid .Applied topically protects the skin against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which are primarily responsible for skin ageing.
5. Anti-ageing Properties:
- Vitamin C and other antioxidants present in strawberries prevent damage caused by free radicals to the skin and body. Free radicals occur during the process of transformation of food into energy. Free radicals accelerate the ageing process and vitamin C is effective in blocking the damage caused by free radicals.
- You can prepare an anti-ageing face pack by mixing a teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of milk cream with mashed strawberries.
- Apply this pack all over your face and neck and leave for 20 minutes. Wash off with clean water and pat dry.
- Since strawberry has anti-ageing properties, this pack can be quite suitable for mature skin by rejuvenating it as well as minimizing pores and lines to give you healthy skin.
[ Read: Cardamom Benefits ]
6. Treatment of Acne:
- Vitamin C, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), salicylic acid and flavonoids in strawberries help in clearing acne and reducing oil.
- Fresh strawberry masks are effective for people with dull, damaged or acne-prone skin.
- If you are suffering from acne, mash 7 to 8 strawberries and add 1 tablespoon of milk to the mash. Apply this mixture on your face and rinse after 10 to 12 minutes. This strawberry treatment should be done at least twice a week to get rid of acne naturally.
7. Diminishes Under-eye Puffiness:
- Strawberries are astringent in nature strawberries and can reduce puffiness and circles beneath the eyes.
- Cut a strawberry into thin slices. Lay down and put the strawberry slices under your eyes and relax for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Wash your face with cold water and moisturize it gently.
8. Treatment of Pigmentation:
Strawberries are rich in ellagic acid and oral ingestion of strawberry extract can cure slight hyperpigmentation caused by UV rays . They inhibit the synthesis of melanin, the chemical that gives the skin its color.
9. Skin Repair:
- Vitamin C in strawberries enables the body to grow and repair its tissues as it is involved in making collagen.
- Collagen is water soluble and this vitamin cannot be stored in the body and has to be provided from food sources. A cup of strawberry provides 100% of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C that plays a vital role in repairing skin damage.
10. Effective Foot Scrub:
- Strawberries can be effective in giving you soft and crack free feet.
- You can prepare a strawberry foot scrub by mashing 6 to 8 strawberries and mixing them with few drops of glycerin and grounded oats.
- Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes. After taking them out, scrub gently with this mixture to exfoliate dead cells and rough skin.
- Wash off with clean cold water and moisturize your feet with any cold cream or foot cream.
[ Read: Citrus Fruits Names ]
Hair Benefits Of Strawberry:
Strawberries are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper which are essential for hair health. They can be beneficial for your hair in the following ways.
11. Prevents Alopecia and Hair Thinning:
Strawberries have a high content of ellagic acid, which protects your hair from thinning or falling and can even be effective in delaying androgenetic alopecia. Strawberry also contains folic acid, vitamins B5 and B6 which prevent hair loss.
12. Promotes Silky and Shiny Hair:
- Strawberries can add extra shine to your hair.
- Mash 7 to 8 ripe strawberries and add 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Mix it with the strawberry mash to make a smooth paste. Apply it over your hair and scalp and cover it with shower cap for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse your hair and shampoo as usual. This will act as a natural conditioner to give you instant natural shiny hair.
13. Moisturizes your Hair:
- Strawberries protect the cell membranes of the scalp due to its potent antioxidant effects. They prevent the formation of hydrophobic layer on the scalp surface
- Applying a mixture of mashed strawberries and egg yolk on your scalp is a great way to moisturize your hair.
14. Fights Dandruff:
Strawberry can be mixed with phytochemicals having antifungal effects like tea tree oil or thyme oil to get rid of dandruff.
15. Prevents Fungal Growth:
Strawberry is a good source of minerals like copper, manganese and magnesium. Manganese and copper in combination with dicarboxylic acids produce complexes that can inhibit fungal growth on the scalp.
[ Read: How to Prepare Aloe Vera Juice ]
16. Acts as an Exfoliant:
A mixture of strawberry and yogurt or orange juice exfoliates your hair follicles.
Health Benefits Of Strawberry:
Let’s have a look at the strawberry health benefits:
17. Strawberries Boosts Immunity:
- Strawberries are rich in vitamin C. We need a minimum level of Vitamin C from external sources each day.
- One bowl of strawberries can provide you with a single day’s requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C works on your body to keep you fit and it also boosts your immunity.
18. Strawberries for the Eyes:
- Strawberries are good for the eyes.
- As we age, we may suffer from Cataracts which creates a cloud over the lens of the eyes but this can be avoided with regular intake of vitamin C.
- The eyes need vitamin C to protect themselves from the free radicals that come from the Sun rays (UV rays). Regular intake of Vitamin C helps to strengthen the Cornea and Retina of our eyes. The best way to prevent any eye problem is by adding a lot of fruits rich in vitamin C rather than just consuming vitamin C supplements.
19. Strawberries for Anti Inflammatory Properties:
- Strawberries have phenol in them, which help in cases of osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis by inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX).
- They work like Aspirin and ibuprofen without the side effects like stomach and intestinal bleeding.
20. Strawberries for Cholesterol:
- Strawberries are rich in phytonutrients which are a type of plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing, compounds.
- These Phenolic compounds are responsible for the fruit’s colour, taste and smell. Once such Phenolic compound- Flavonoids are known to be high in antioxidants. They have been proved to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by inhibiting the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL).
21. Strawberries for the Heart:
- These phenolic compounds improve blood vessel function, and decrease the tendency for blood clotting.
- It has been proven that flavonoids decrease inflammatory process in the body and this helps to protect the heart. The potassium in Strawberries regulates blood pressure too.
22. Strawberries for Bone Health:
Strawberries contain about 21% of Manganese which helps to keep the bones healthy by keeping the bone structure intact.The Potassium and Vitamin K in Strawberries are good for bone health.
23. Strawberries for Cancer:
Vitamin C has been proven to prevent cancer. A phytochemical named Ellagic Acid which is found in Strawberries has been proven to have anticancer properties
24. Strawberries for the Skin:
Strawberries have Vitamin C which helps to keep the skin’s elasticity and helps regenerate new cells. It keeps skin young. Also the Ellagic acid in strawberries helps in keeping wrinkles at bay too.
25. Strawberries are rich in Fibre:
Strawberry benefits also include it being rich in fibre, which keeps your digestive system healthy and also keeps constipation out of the system.
How to Select and Store:
- Strawberries are perishable in nature, they should be purchased few days before using.
- When purchasing strawberries, select bright red berries which are firm and plump with their caps intact and green, not dry or browning.
- Smaller berries are generally more sweet and flavorful. Soft, moldy or shriveled berries should be avoided. Strawberries do not ripen further after being picked so you should avoid those which are dull in color or have green or yellow patches .These can be sour or of inferior quality.
- Full ripe berries have peak flavor and texture as well as more nutrition.
- Both under ripe and overripe strawberries have a lower vitamin C and phytonutrient content in comparison to optimally ripe ones.
- Strawberries are also available in packaged form in containers. While buying those, ensure that strawberries are not packed too tightly as this might crush or damage them
- The container should not have any signs of stains or moisture which indicates possible spoilage. Generally strawberries are available throughout the year but are best in the mid-summer.
- Strawberries should be eaten as soon as possible and should not be washed until they are ready to eat.
- Great care should be taken while storing strawberries as they are extremely fragile in nature.
- They should be preferably placed in a single layer on a paper towel in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
- Molded or damaged strawberries should be eliminated as they might contaminate others.
- Unwashed or unhulled strawberries should be kept in a sealed container to prevent unnecessary loss of humidity.
- Strawberries should not be left at room temperature or exposed to sunlight for a long time as this might cause spoilage.
- Strawberries can be easily frozen. Before freezing, wash them gently and pat dry
- . Remove the cap and stem
- . Arrange them on a flat pan or cookie sheet and place them in a freezer.
- Once frozen, place them in a zip top bag, suck out the air with a straw and return to the freezer where they can be stored for up to 6 months.
- You can add a bit of lemon juice to preserve their color. Strawberries can be frozen whole or cut but whole ones retain a higher level of vitamin C content.
Tips for Usage (Eating/Cooking):
Strawberries are most commonly used in desserts and ice creams. Due to their sweet and juicy flavor they can also be eaten whole like other fruits. Today they form part of various recipes to add flavor. Given below are some of the tips for enjoying this delicious fruit.
- You can consume the strawberries straightaway. Before doing so, wash them in running water and wipe them with paper towels until they are completely dry. Holding the strawberry by the stem, take a few bites. Even the seeds are edible.
- Strawberry slices can be added to mixed green salad to make it more interesting and yummy.
- Strawberry mousse is one of our favorites. It is quite refreshing and can be eaten as it is or served as a topping with other desserts.
- Sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and plain yogurt can be arranged in layers in a wine glass to make a parfait dessert.
- Strawberries can be blended with orange juice to make a perfect coulis sauce. This fruit can also be added to breakfast shakes to make them more vibrant and nutritious.
- Strawberry pie can be prepared by piling the whole fruits on a layer of creamy filling.
- Strawberries are not just perfect for desserts; they can be used in a main dish as well. A chicken and strawberry salad is a perfect example that combines sweet strawberries, tangy vinaigrette, chicken and rich blue cheese.
- Strawberries can form part of pizzas as well. You can layer your favorite pizza with strawberry slices along with soft cheese or greens and pistachios.
- A strawberry-avocado salsa is an extremely sweet and savory dish that can be served with roast chicken or sautéed fish or can be eaten as a snack with baked tortilla chips.
- Strawberries are not just meant for mousse, shakes and smoothies. They can add flavor to your tea as well. All you need to do is add some tea and a cup of strawberries to boiling water. Cover and let it stand for 5 minutes. Strain the tea and add ice cubes and sugar. This refreshing drink can be garnished with strawberries and served chilled.
Strawberries are a powerhouse of nutrition. Incorporating them in our diets can have a multitude of benefits. So, this summer enjoy the flavor and the benefits of these luscious berries.
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