Scientifically called Fragaria x ananassa, strawberries could be the world’s most popular berries. We mean, come on, who would hate ’em!
Believed to have originated in France, these berries not only taste good, but do good as well. Keep reading, and you will know what we are talking about.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Strawberry?
- What Is The History Of Strawberry?
- What Are The Types Of Strawberries?
- What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Strawberries?
- What Are The Health Benefits Of Strawberries?
- Any Tips For Using Strawberries In Cooking?
- How To Select And Store Strawberries
- Any Strawberry Recipes You Can Look At?
- Any Fun Facts About Strawberries?
- Where To Buy Strawberries
- What Are The Side Effects Of Strawberries?
What Is Strawberry?
Also called the garden strawberry, this fruit belongs to the genus Fragaria. This one is quite popular for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, sweetness, and the juicy texture.
And it is a major ingredient in juices, pies, ice creams, chocolates, and milkshakes. Which is why we love it. Oh wait, and there’s the history too.
What Is The History Of Strawberry?
This fruit had its first mention in the ancient Roman literature in reference to its medicinal use. In fact, the word strawberry is derived from the Old English streawberige – because the plant sends out runners that are similar to pieces of straw.
Also called ‘fraise’ in French, ‘erdbeere’ in Greek, ‘fragola’ in Italian, and ‘fresa’ in Spanish, strawberries have been in cultivation for thousands of years. Yet they didn’t find their place in the commercial market until the Renaissance era in Europe. The fruit is native to North America. Some records show that the early settlers in Massachusetts cultivated and ate strawberries as early as 1643.
California is the largest producer of strawberries in the US, with over 25,000 acres planted every year. And by the way, these berries come in different varieties as well.
What Are The Types Of Strawberries?
Following are some of the popular types:
June-bearing strawberries, which are the most common variety. They also produce the largest variety of strawberries.
Everbearing strawberries, which produce two harvests per year – one in the spring and one in the late summer.
Day-neutral strawberries, which produce a good yield in the first year they are planted.
Let’s keep that brief. Because we have something more important to look at.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Strawberries?
|Vitamin A||1 µg||0%|
|Vitamin C||58.8 mg||65%|
|Vitamin D||0 µg||~|
|Vitamin E||0.29 mg||2%|
|Vitamin K||2.2 µg||2%|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||0.02 mg||2%|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.02 mg||2%|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.39 mg||2%|
|Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic acid)||0.13 mg||3%|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.05 mg||4%|
|Vitamin B12||0 µg||~|
One cup of fresh strawberries (152 grams) contains 49 calories and 7 grams of sugar. Strawberries contain no fat, and one cup contains 3 grams of fiber. Other nutrients in strawberries include:
- 1 gram of protein (2% of the daily value)
- 4 milligrams of vitamin C (149% of the daily value)
- 6 milligrams of manganese (29% of the daily value)
- 5 micrograms of folate (9% of the daily value)
- 233 milligrams of potassium (7% of the daily value)
- 8 milligrams of magnesium (5% of the daily value)
- 3 micrograms of vitamin K (4% of the daily value)
There are numerous other nutrients in strawberries that offer wonderful benefits.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Strawberries?
The antioxidants and polyphenols in these berries support heart health and prevent various forms of cancer. And so does the vitamin C these berries contain – which even contributes to skin and hair health. The fiber these berries are replete with aids digestion and even helps in weight loss.
1. Protect The Heart
The abundance of antioxidants and polyphenols in strawberries make them the ideal food to protect your heart from ailments. Strawberries contain anthocyanins (the antioxidants responsible for their red hue), which protect the lining of the circulatory system, thereby shielding the arteries from plaque build-up and regulating the blood pressure (1).
According to Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, women who consumed three or more servings of berries (especially strawberries) every week had reduced their risk of heart attack by a third.
2. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Strawberries also contain ellagic acid, and this, along with the antioxidants, helps in slowing down the digestion of starchy foods. This controls the rise in blood sugar levels post a starchy meal. It also helps individuals with type-2 diabetes keep their blood sugar levels in check.
Strawberries also have a low glycemic index (40), which means they are unlikely to cause sharp sugar spikes when eaten by diabetics.
The fiber in strawberries can also help regulate blood sugar levels.
3. Help Fight Cancer
Strawberries are exceptionally good sources of vitamin C and fiber, both of which have been found to protect from cancers of the esophagus and colon. The anticancer properties of strawberries, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, can be attributed to the presence of ellagic acid – a phytochemical that can prevent cancers of the skin, lung, bladder, and breast (2).
Ellagic acid acts as an anticancer agent in several ways – it acts as an antioxidant, slows down the production of cancer cells, and helps the body destroy certain types of carcinogens.
4. Boost Immunity
Strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C. In fact, a single serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C has been found to trigger immune-boosting antibodies, which ultimately enhance your body’s ability to fight infections (3).
In one Switzerland study, it had been found that supplementation of vitamin C had improved the various components of the immune system (4).
According to research conducted by South African doctors, supplementation of vitamin C increased the concentration of immunoglobulin, which is an antibody and a key component of the immune system (5). Strawberries are also known to fight allergies and asthma.
5. Regulate Blood Pressure
As already mentioned, strawberries contain anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that relax the lining of the blood vessels and open them up, thereby lowering blood pressure (6).
Strawberries are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps control blood pressure (7).
6. Improve Brain Health
The credit goes to the antioxidants, again. Strawberries, with their high content of antioxidants, protect the brain cells from damage due to free radicals. They also change the way the neurons in the brain communicate with each other (8). This ultimately leads to improved brain health.
A study conducted by Harvard researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has revealed that intake of strawberries can delay memory decline in older women over time (9). This benefit can be attributed to the presence of flavonoids in strawberries. Also, it was found that an increased intake of anthocyanidins helped in slowing down memory decline.
According to the studies conducted by researchers from Tufts University and University of Maryland Baltimore County, a majority of brain diseases (including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) are caused due to an increase in the amount of a particular toxic protein. But the consumption of strawberries has been found to promote the brain’s natural housekeeping mechanism (also called autophagy), thereby reducing the accumulation of this protein (10).
7. Fight Inflammation
Strawberries contain quercetin, and according to a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, intake of quercetin, along with regular exercise, can reduce atherosclerosis plaque formation (11).
Strawberries are also rich in vitamin C, which plays a major role in preventing inflammation (12). This vitamin also plays a role in easing the symptoms of arthritis and gout.
It has been found that high levels of C-reactive protein (or CRP) can signal increasing levels of inflammation in the body. According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, women who consumed 16 or more strawberries every week were 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of this protein (13).
8. Fight Cholesterol
Strawberries are known to contain pectin, which is a type of soluble fiber that lowers the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body (14).
According to a New Orleans study, several types of soluble fiber, including pectin, have shown to lower the levels of LDL (15).
As per an analysis carried out together by Italian and Spanish scientists, a team of 23 healthy volunteers that had consumed 500 grams of strawberries regularly for a month saw a decrease in the LDL levels.
Another Canadian study showed the efficacy of strawberries in reducing oxidative damage and bad cholesterol (16).
9. Improve Vision Health
Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants that were found to prevent cataract, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases (17).
According to the researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University, vitamin C can increase the functioning and life of the retinal cells.
10. Aid Weight Loss
The ellagic acid and antioxidants are what play a major role in making strawberries ideal for losing weight.
Chronic inflammation is one of the causes of weight gain since it blocks the hormones that make you lean. Strawberry, being an amazing anti-inflammatory food, restores the functionalities of weight-reducing hormones.
In addition, anthocyanins, the master antioxidants, increase the body’s production of a hormone called adiponectin. This hormone promotes metabolism and suppresses your appetite. It might also induce fat burn.
11. Support Healthy Pregnancy
Strawberries are a rich source of folate (18). You get about 40 micrograms of folate from one cup of raw strawberries. This is about 10 percent of the recommended daily intake. According to research, folate is important during pregnancy as it can prevent neural tube defects. It is also important for the mother’s health.
12. Improve Bone Health
Though we don’t have much research on this, the vitamin K, potassium, and manganese in strawberries might improve bone health.
13. Help Treat Constipation
Given that strawberries are rich in fiber, they can help treat constipation. The fiber in the fruit can also relieve other digestive issues like gas and bloating.
14. Keep Teeth Healthy
Strawberries contain malic acid, which acts as an astringent and removes tooth discoloration. This means you can use this fruit to whiten your teeth. You simply can crush the strawberry to a pulp and mix with baking soda until you obtain a smooth blend. Using a soft toothbrush, spread the mixture on your teeth. Leave it on for 5 minutes, brush thoroughly with toothpaste and then rinse.
Don’t overdo it, though – as the acid in the fruit might damage your enamel.
15. Treat Puffy Eyes
You just need a couple of strawberries for this purpose. Refrigerate them for about 30 minutes. After that, remove their tops and cut them into thick slices. Place the slices over your face and leave them on for about 15 minutes. Remove them and wash your face with cold water. You can do this every night before going to bed.
16. Have Anti-Aging Properties
The powerful antioxidants need to be given credit, again! These protect our body from oxidative damage and stall the signs of aging (wrinkles, sagging skin, fine lines, etc.).
Strawberries contain a higher amount of vitamin C than oranges or grapefruit. This nutrient fights free radicals, which were found to damage cells and break down collagen (resulting in fine lines).
They are also great sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that plays a prominent role in staving off the signs of aging. The anthocyanins present in strawberries protect the skin from oxidative stress, thereby slowing down aging (20).
17. Improve Skin Health
Strawberries contain alpha-hydroxy acid, which is an important substance that helps eliminate dead skin cells and cleanses the skin in the process.
According to a study conducted by Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, treatments with alpha hydroxy acids have been found to reverse signs of aging (21). And in another Japanese study, alpha hydroxy acid agents were proven to improve and rejuvenate photo-damaged skin.
The strawberry fruit also contains salicylic acid and ellagic acid, which are known for reducing hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Salicylic acid is also known for removing dead cells from the skin and tightening the skin pores to prevent further acne breakouts.
Strawberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C, which can cleanse the skin and keep it healthy. The berries have other skin benefits too – they improve your complexion, tone and soothe irritated skin, and offer protection from UV radiation.
You can simply mix strawberry paste with some honey and apply to your face every morning. Leave the mask on for 15 minutes and wash with cold water. You can replace honey with rose water as well. Or even add milk to the recipe. All these ingredients work wonders in improving skin health.
18. Prevent Hair Fall
As already discussed, strawberries are great sources of vitamin C – a nutrient that encourages iron absorption and promotes hair growth. It has also been found that a deficiency of this nutrient can lead to split ends (22). The vitamin can also treat dandruff.
Strawberries are also loaded with silica, which is known to prevent baldness and help in hair growth.
You can prepare a strawberry hair mask that can help you deal with your hair problems. Mix strawberry paste (2 berries) with extra virgin coconut oil and honey (1 tablespoon each). Apply to your scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes, post which you can wash your hair with cold water. This must be done on a clean scalp, usually in the mornings after your bath. This mask also prevents scalp fungal growth – the magnesium in the berries takes care of this problem.
19. Have Benefits For Men
The antioxidants in strawberries benefit your heart and arteries – both of which enhance circulation, which is crucial for a healthy sex life. The vitamin C in the berries also result in higher sperm count in men.
That’s with the long list of benefits. Simply incredible, aren’t they? But how can use these wonder berries in your cooking? Well, we have the answers.
Any Tips For Using Strawberries In Cooking?
Strawberries are most commonly used in desserts and ice creams. Their extracts are also used as preservatives in a variety of products. Due to their sweet and juicy flavor, they can also be eaten whole like other fruits. Today, they form a part of various recipes. Given below are some tips for enjoying this delicious fruit.
- You can simply eat the strawberries raw. 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 yummier.
- Strawberry mousse is one of our favorites. It is quite delicious and can be eaten as it is or served as a topping over 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 the 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 the amazing flavors of sweet strawberries, tangy vinaigrette, chicken, and rich blue cheese.
- Pizzas can also be topped with strawberries. You can layer your favorite pizza with strawberry slices along with soft cheese or greens, and pistachios.
- The strawberry-avocado salsa is an extremely sweet and savory dish that can be served with roasted chicken or sautéed fish or eaten as a snack with baked tortilla chips.
- Strawberries 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.
Knowing about a particular food would be of no use if one doesn’t know how to select and store it.
How To Select And Store Strawberries
- Strawberries are perishable and should be purchased a few days before being used.
- When purchasing strawberries, select bright red berries that are firm and plump with their caps intact and green, not dry or browning.
- There are different varieties of strawberries, available in several sizes, shapes, and colors. Some strawberry fruits are even off-white or yellowish. Smaller berries are generally more sweet and flavorful.
- Strawberries do not ripen further after being picked, so you should avoid those that are dull in color, have green or yellow patches, or are soft, moldy, or shriveled. These can be sour or of inferior quality.
- Full, ripe berries have peak flavor and texture as well as more nutrition.
- Both underripe and overripe strawberries have a lower content of vitamin C and phytonutrients in comparison to the optimally ripe ones.
- Strawberries are also available in the packaged form. While buying those, ensure that they are not packed too tightly as this might crush or damage them.
- The container should not have any signs of stains or moisture, which indicate possible spoilage. Generally, strawberries are available throughout the year, but the best ones are available during mid-summer.
- Strawberries should be eaten as soon as possible and should not be washed until you are ready to eat them.
- Great care should be taken while storing strawberries as they are extremely fragile.
- They should be preferably placed in a single layer on a paper towel in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Molded or damaged strawberries should be thrown away 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 the freezer.
- Once frozen, place them in a ziplock bag, suck the air out with a straw, and put it back in 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 more vitamin C than the cut ones.
Now that you know how to select and store these berries, how about trying out a few popular recipes?
Any Strawberry Recipes You Can Look At?
1. Strawberry Smoothie
What You Need
- 8 hulled strawberries
- ½ cup of skim milk
- ½ cup of plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 6 crushed ice cubes
- In a blender, add all the ingredients (except the ice) and blend until you obtain a smooth mixture.
- Toss in the ice and blend again.
- Pour into glasses and serve.
Here are five other ways you can prepare this delicious strawberry smoothie. This video will guide you.
2. Strawberry Jam
What You Need
- 2 pounds of fresh hulled strawberries
- 4 cups of white sugar
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- Crush all the strawberries until you have 4 cups of mashed strawberry.
- Take a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and mix the mashed strawberry, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
3. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Keep stirring often.
- Transfer the mixture to hot sterile jars, leaving about an inch of headspace. Seal. Process the jars in water bath.
The recipes are bound to become a hit at your home. And so are these fun facts about strawberries.
Any Fun Facts About Strawberries?
- The average strawberry has 200 seeds.
- Strawberries are the first fruits to ripen in the spring.
- There are more than 103 species of strawberries.
- 94% of US households consume strawberries.
- Americans eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year.
- Belgium has a museum just for strawberries.
- Strawberries were found in Rome in 234 BC.
All nice. But where do you get these berries?
Where To Buy Strawberries?
You can usually get them at your nearest store like Walmart. Very rarely are these berries available online.
You saw all that is rosy about strawberries. But these berries also have certain side effects you must be aware of.
What Are The Side Effects Of Strawberries?
- Issues With Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Though taking the fruit in normal amounts is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, we don’t know what will happen if it is taken in excess. Stick to normal food amounts.
- Bleeding Disorders
Strawberries might prolong bleeding time and even increase the risk of bruising in susceptible individuals. Use with caution if you have bleeding disorders. Also, take care if you are undergoing surgery as strawberries might slow blood clotting. Avoid use at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
The world’s most popular berries, and they are so for a reason. And that’s one reason you must include them in your diet. Tell us how this post has helped you. Leave a comment below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How much sugar in strawberries?
One small strawberry contains just about 0.3 grams of sugar.
Can you give strawberries to babies?
Only after he/she starts taking solid food – which usually happens when the baby is about 6 months old.
How to make strawberry tea?
Simply steep strawberries in boiling water. Drain and drink.
Can you eat the leaves of strawberries?
Yes, very much.
Are strawberries fattening at night?
No. The fiber in the fruits helps in digestion and even can aid fat burning.
What is strawberry tongue?
Red color changes on the tongue that could otherwise be related to an underlying condition is called strawberry tongue.
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