Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa) is a bright, sweet, and juicy fruit packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It’s one of the most liked fruits worldwide, mainly because of their delectable flavor and the many health benefits they offer.
Strawberries are a hybrid of two wild strawberry varieties from Chile and North America. It’s a highly nutritious fruit containing decent amounts of potassium, folate, and manganese. Usually consumed fresh, these delicious berries can also be used in desserts, jellies, and jams. Read on to find out why Strawberries have become increasingly popular in the United States.
Strawberries provide many potential health benefits. The fruit also helps protect the body against diseases. Strawberries are esthetically attractive for their deep color, but this beauty means much more. Strawberries get the deep color from pigments such as anthocyanin that also provides many health benefits. Other health benefits you will get from eating strawberries include:
Reduces Risks Of Colon Cancer
Irritable bowel disease (IBD) has been associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Both conditions have been associated with lower veggie and fruit consumption alongside increased intake of animal products. A study showed that increased intake of strawberries could help.[i]
Technically, strawberries have already been found to improve oxidative stress marketers because of the high concentration of anthocyanins. Considering their popularity, recommendations to take more strawberries are widely accepted.
Promotes Heart Health
Strawberries contain fiber that helps control triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Potassium and the flavonoids in the strawberries usually work to lower blood pressure. Furthermore, strawberries are a great source of folate and vitamin C. These nutrients are essential for improved heart health. With antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, these berries are a great way to protect your heart.
Promotes Healing Of Wounds
Most adults need from 75mg to 90mg of vitamin C every day. With approximately 90mg of vitamin C in one cup serving, strawberries are a great source of this antioxidant vitamin. Because our bodies cannot store or produce vitamin C, it’s recommended that we consume this vitamin through food every day. Consuming sufficient vitamin C offers the building blocks needed to heal wounds and repair injuries.[ii]
Alleviates Symptoms Of Arthritis
Strawberries have been found to minimize inflammation among individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition, which causes lots of pain and stress during flare-ups. Research shows that providing a 50g beverage of dried strawberries for three months improves the quality of life for those living with osteoarthritis, most likely because of the fruit’s bioactive compounds.[iii]
Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Strawberries are low-sugar fruits with many benefits for the management of diabetes. Strawberries aren’t just high in fiber that helps regulate blood sugar levels; they also prevent the increase in blood sugar that occurs after a meal. By minimizing the uptake and the transport of glucose in the colon, the berries provide some protection against rising blood sugar levels.[iv]
Consuming foods like strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, and grapes high in fiber and water content helps hydrate the body and eventually maintain regular bowel movements. Fiber is essential for reducing constipation.
The strawberry is a great fruit for people living with diabetes. The significant fiber content of strawberries also helps maintain blood sugar and ensures it remains stable by avoiding extreme lows and highs.
Fiber improves satiety, helping you feel full for extended periods of time. This will eventually reduce the urge to eat between meals. This supports glucose management. It also reduces the risks of blood sugar elevation.
Strawberries contain around 12g of carbs per cup. 75 grams come from sugar, while 3 grams are fiber (both insoluble and soluble). With a glycemic load of 3, strawberries have a glycemic index of 25.[vi] Fiber makes up about 26% of the carbohydrate content of strawberries. Dietary fibers are essential for feeding the gut bacteria and enhance digestive health.
Naturally, strawberries are low in fat, with only 0.5g per cup. Most of the fats found in strawberries are polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Strawberries only contain 1g of protein per cup.
Vitamins and Minerals
Strawberries contain vitamin C, an essential antioxidant for skin health and promoting the immune system. One cup serving of strawberry contains enough vitamins and minerals to surpass the recommended daily intake. Also, they are high in magnesium, calcium, folate, and potassium. Although in smaller amounts, Strawberries also provide phosphorous, copper, iron, and vitamins E, K, and B6.
Strawberries haven’t been associated with any severe side effects, but allergic reactions are common, particularly among young kids. Strawberries contain proteins that could cause allergies, especially among people who are more sensitive to apples or birch pollen. The most common symptoms include tingling or itching in the mouth, headaches, hives, and swelling of the throat, tongue, face, or lips, and breathing issues.
Allergic reactions to strawberries are possible and might involve cross-reaction with other vegetables and fruits like cherries and grapes. As mentioned earlier, the most common symptoms include throat tightness, shortness of breath, or hives. Consult an allergist in case you suspect an allergy after eating strawberries.[vii] There are different varieties of strawberries, which fall in the categories of day-neutral, overbearing, and June bearing.[viii]
June bearers are available during the spring. Examples include Allstar, Jewel, Seneca, Annapolis, and Earligrow.
Overbearing strawberries usually produce fruits three times a year: during fall, summer, and spring. Tribute and Tristar are types of overbearing strawberries.
Day-neutral strawberries produce fruits all year round. They thrive in limited spaces and can be cultivated as a groundcover.
Strawberries are some of the most popular fruits consumed globally. As wild berries, the fruit is native to temperate regions, including North America, Asia, Europe, and South American, especially Chile. Strawberries are not only grown widely in these regions, but they have been grown for hundreds of years. The United States is the world’s biggest commercial producer of strawberries.
US farmers produce about 3 billion pounds of strawberries every year. This is about 30% of the strawberries produced across the globe. Other countries currently growing strawberries commercially include Egypt, turkey, Poland, Korea, Spain, and Mexico, with fewer amounts of the berries cultivated in Chile, Morocco, and other countries in the Russian Federation, Japan, and Europe.
Within the United States, California is one of the countries biggest producer of strawberries, with approximately 41,500-planted trees. Florida comes second with about 11,000 acres of strawberries, with Oregon coming in a distant third. US adults eat about 7.5 pounds of raw strawberries every year.
Around 80% of all strawberries that are grown in the United States are sold as fresh produce market strawberries, while about 20% are frozen. Growers categorize strawberries based on the season when they grow like June bearers, day-neutral and overbearing varieties.
How To Prepare
Strawberries may be used to add flavor to cottage cheese, yogurt, and cold or hot cereals. Also, frozen strawberries can be blended into smoothies. Furthermore, fresh strawberries can be chopped and added to salsas, side dishes, or salads. Their plump texture and sweet taste make a great add-on to baked foods and desserts. Also, strawberries are delicious dippers – dip the berries into dark chocolate or nut butter for a sweet treat.
Storage Tips And Safety
It’s recommended that you pick through your strawberries package before storage to make sure you remove all damaged ones. You should store the strawberries in the coldest compartment of your refrigerator, such as the vegetable crisper. Always make sure your strawberries are kept in an airtight container to minimize air circulation. Eat them within seven days. Fresh strawberries should be washed under tap water before slicing or eating. If you don’t get a chance to eat the fresh strawberries, you should consider storing them in a freezer.
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- [i] Chen T, Shi N, Afzali A. Chemopreventive effects of strawberry and black raspberry on colorectal cancer in inflammatory bowel disease. Nutrients. 2019;11(6). doi:10.3390/nu11061261
- [ii] National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C: Fact sheet for health professionals. Updated February 27, 2020.
- [iii] Schell J, Scofield RH, Barrett JR, et al. Strawberries improve pain and inflammation in obese adults with radiographic evidence of knee osteoarthritis. Nutrients. 2017;9(9). doi:10.3390/nu9090949
- [iv] Strawberries, the superfood you’ve been eating your whole life. Produce for Better Health Foundation. Updated 2020.
- [v] Strawberries, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- [vi] Managing dietary carbohydrates for better health. UW Integrative Health Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Updated 2018.
- [vii] Anaphylactic reactions to cherries, strawberries and grapes. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Updated 2018.
- [viii] Strawberries & more. University of Illinois Extension. Updated 2020.