Many people view superfoods as exotic fruits and vegetables from far and distant places. But, foods don’t have to be exotic to be super. Strawberries are some of the best fruits you can eat, but what makes strawberries so great? The red fruits that you’ve likely been eating your entire life are chock-full of health-promoting compounds like folic acid, vitamin C, fiber, anthocyanins, and quercetin. The vitamin C in strawberries helps build and repair the body’s tissues, boosts immunity, and fights excess free radical damage. Vitamin C also promotes healthy eye function and might even inhibit wrinkle formation and help control cholesterol levels. Combine this with its high vitamin make this fruit a dietary dual threat.
While some research exists regarding strawberry intake and health and disease processes like cognitive function and cancer development, the vast majority of evidence has focused on cardiovascular and metabolic health. Additionally, strawberry intake has been shown to reduce triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, and total cholesterol. Strawberry intake may also improve blood glucose and reduce a hyperglycemic response to food by decreasing glucose uptake and transport in the intestine. Several studies indicate that regular strawberry consumption improves the body’s antioxidant defense systems. Strawberry consumption also may reduce cell damage and risk for chronic diseases. Strawberries can and should be included in a heart-healthy diet.
Strawberries are abundantly available and reasonably priced throughout the US and have myriad health benefits and delicious flavor. In order to maximize nutrient content and flavor, store your strawberries in a moisture-proof container for 1-3 days in the refrigerator. Washing and hulling them ahead of time may save you some work, but you will lose nutrients by doing so. Instead, rinse your strawberries, pat dry, and then hull them right before eating in order to get the most nutrient bang from your berries. Just one cup more than satisfies the daily requirement for vitamin C. An 8-ounce serving also packs more than a quarter of the suggested daily value of manganese, along with a respectable 3 grams of dietary fiber. Strawberries are a heavenly treat.