Sweet, juicy, and a little tart at times, this little red fruit is truly remarkable. No wonder it's a symbol of love and passion! One of the most unique quirks about the strawberry is that it's the only fruit that wears its seeds on the outside, poking out for the world to see. Folk remedies held that the fruit, leaves, and root of wild strawberries have the power to cure throat infections, melancholy, fainting, inflammation, kidney stones, bad breath, fevers, gout, and diseases of the blood and vital organs. Some of those may actually be true.
Washing strawberries in water and patting dry prepares them for either eating or storage. In the refrigerator, the coldest drawer is your best bet for prolonged freshness. When removing the core and little cap of leaves at the top, inspect for soft spots and remove with a small paring knife.
Little imagination is needed to enhance the succulence of strawberries, but ambitious folk have whipped up a variety of recipes to add to its culinary delights. Nutritionally however, and to obtain the full essence, they're best as is, especially when eaten at room temperature. Kick up the flavor very simply by combining them with other fruits - no sugar added - such as pineapple, kiwifruit, grapes, apples, blueberries, papaya, and/or bananas.
One study (among many) demonstrates that strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries all contain chemicals proven to shield cells against cervical and breast cancer; new research serves up additional health benefits on an ever-increasing basis.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries offer an astonishing 129 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, a known infection fighter, but they're also packed with manganese and folate, as well as potassium with its co-factoring enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Low in calories and fats, strawberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, ellagitannins, flavonols, terpenoids, and phenolic and ellagic acids, all phytonutrients which together multiply anti-inflammatory potential. Minerals like copper for the healthy development of red blood cells are in abundance, as are fluoride, iron, and iodine.
Besides being anti-cancer, strawberries also contain potential neurological disease-fighting and anti-aging compounds. What's more, the free radical-zapping antioxidant activity is outstanding in strawberries, as are their blood glucose-leveling abilities.
However, consume strawberries in moderation because they still contain fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts.
Strawberries Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw
|Calories from Fat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie
Studies on Strawberries
A recent study reports that the flavonoid fisetin in strawberries can kill breast cancer cells without harming normal breast cells. Fisetin, most abundant in strawberries, is also found in onions, apples, persimmons, grapes, and cucumbers. A number of anti-cancer treatments are designed to induce cancer cell death; fisetin also has been proven to bring about programmed cell death in human colon and prostate cancer cells.1
According to other research, about 250 mg per day of triterpenes, of the phytosterol family, are consumed daily, derived from several food types, but specifically strawberries. One triterpene in strawberries, called lupeol, contains cholesterol-lowering properties as well as "immense" anti-inflammatory potential. In fact, research indicates that blood markers for chronic inflammation can be improved by eating strawberries regularly. The study noted that surrounding healthy cells and tissues showed no toxicity under therapeutic doses, with the conclusion that lupeol might prove to be a chemopreventive agent for treating both inflammation and cancer.2
Strawberry Healthy Recipes:
Strawberry Healthy Recipes: Strawberry Mascarpone Cream Parfaits
|1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
||4 Tbsps. stevia granules
||1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
|8 oz. chilled mascarpone cheese
||2 cups whipping cream
||1 tsp. vanilla extract
|2 lbs. prepared, halved strawberries
||6-8 whole strawberries
||Fresh mint leaves
- Combine vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and lemon juice in small saucepan and boil, stirring, until sugar dissolves and syrup is reduced by half - about 4 minutes.
- Transfer to a small bowl and cool completely. (Note: this can be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- In a chilled mixing bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, 2 Tbsp. stevia, and vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.
- Thirty minutes before serving, pour the balsamic syrup into the strawberries. Add 1 Tbsp. stevia and toss gently to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Divide half the strawberries between 8 glass goblets. Spoon half the cream mixture over the strawberries. Top with remaining strawberries, then the remaining cream mixture. Drizzle with any remaining syrup. Garnish each goblet with a small, whole strawberry, grated lemon zest, and a sprig of mint. Elegant!
This recipe makes six to eight servings.
Strawberries Fun Facts
Bavarian farmers have been caught tying small baskets of wild strawberries onto the horns of their cattle, as a springtime folk tradition and an offering to elves, known to have a passion for strawberries and who will reciprocate by granting the cows with healthy calves and an abundance of milk.
It's unanimous: strawberries are delicious. But they also offer unique nutritive benefits in the form of antioxidants, the triterpene lupeol, which lowers cholesterol and inflammation and may prove chemopreventive, plus a wide array of phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and flavonols. The flavonoid fisetin in strawberries is also proven to neutralize colon, cervical, breast, and prostate cancer cells.
But these are not the only reason strawberries are a summer favorite. Strawberries are one of those unique fruits requiring no embellishment to make them one of the world's most sought-after plant-based foods.