Fresh summer strawberries are one of the most popular, refreshing, and nutritious fruits available.
The sweet, slightly tart berries have powerful antioxidant content and do not rapidly boost a person's blood sugar, making them an ideal choice for those who have diabetes, and a safe, delicious addition to any diet.
Fruits and vegetables of all types, including strawberries, offer many health benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that consuming 400 grams (g) of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
In this article, we look at the health benefits of strawberries, their nutritional information, and ways to include them in the diet.
Strawberries provide a range of potential benefits and can support the body's defences against a variety of diseases. There are more than 600 varieties of strawberry.
1. Preventing heart disease
Strawberries might have a preventive effect against heart disease due to their high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are plant compounds that are good for the body.
The fiber and potassium content in strawberries also support heart health.
In one 2011 study, participants who consumed 4,069 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day had a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease when compared to those who consumed about 1,000 mg of potassium per day.
2. Preventing stroke
A 2016 meta-analysis included studies that had assessed the antioxidants quercetin, kaempferol, and anthocyanin.
This meta-analysis looked at the link between those antioxidants that were present in strawberries and stroke risk. It found that they moderately reduced the risk of stroke after the study authors took into account cardiovascular risk factors.
However, the authors advise caution over taking the study results too literally, as they looked at the overall impact of flavonoids rather than the participants' direct response to doses.
The powerful antioxidants in strawberries may work against free radicals, according to a 2016 review. The review suggests that this factor could inhibit tumor growth and decrease inflammation in the body.
While no fruit acts as a direct treatment for cancer, strawberries, and similar fruits might help reduce the risk of some people developing the disease.
4. Blood pressure
Due to their high potassium content, strawberries might provide benefits for people who have a raised risk of high blood pressure by helping to offset the effects of sodium in the body.
Low potassium intake is just as important a risk factor for high blood pressure as high sodium intake.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2% of American adults meet the daily 4,700-mg recommendation for potassium.
Strawberries are a sweet, filling way to help people consume more potassium in their diet.
Eating foods such as strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe that are high in water content and fiber can help hydrate the body and maintain regular bowel movements.
Fiber is essential for minimizing constipation and adding bulk to the stool.
Strawberries are a healthful fruit choice for people with diabetes. The substantial fiber content of the berries also helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows.
Fiber can improve satiety, helping people feel fuller for longer after eating. This can reduce urges to snack between meals, which will support glucose management and reduce the risk of blood sugar spikes.
One cup of sliced, fresh strawberries, or 166 g, contains a range of important nutrients in the following amounts:
- Calories: 53 kcal
- Protein: 1.11 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.75 g
- Dietary fiber: 3.30 g
- Calcium: 27 mg
- Iron: 0.68 mg
- Magnesium: 22 mg
- Phosphorus: 40 mg
- Potassium: 254 mg
- Vitamin C: 97.60 mg
- Folate: 40 micrograms (mcg)
- Vitamin A: 28 international units (IU)
Strawberries also contain a range of powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol.
Strawberries are available fresh, frozen, freeze-dried, and in jellies, syrups, and jams.
People looking to eat strawberries should check the label of frozen and dried strawberries for added sugars.
When looking for jellies or jams, people can choose all-fruit spreads that do not contain added sweeteners and fillers.
Here are some handy, healthful tips for incorporating more strawberries into your diet:
- Dice strawberries and add them to your chicken salad.
- Make your own fruit cocktail with fresh fruit. Include grapes, pineapple, sliced peaches, and strawberries. Drizzle a small amount of honey on top of the fruit mixture for extra sweetness if wanted.
- Add sliced strawberries to plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of agave nectar and sliced almonds.
- Top whole-grain waffles, pancakes, or oatmeal with fresh strawberries, or fold them into muffins and sweetbreads. You can also blend strawberries in a food processor with a little water and use as a fresh syrup to top desserts or breakfast foods.
- Mix cut strawberries into a spinach salad with walnuts and goat's cheese.
- Toast a whole-grain bagel and top with light cream cheese and strawberries.
- Put some frozen, unsweetened strawberries into a blender with a banana, low-fat milk, and ice for a quick and easy strawberry and banana smoothie.
While strawberries are a healthful addition to any diet, people looking to eat them should do so in moderation.
Fruits typically are high in sugar despite their nutritional benefits, and strawberries contain 8.12 mg of sugars per cup.
There is also a risk that strawberries may contain pesticide residue. Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) produces a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue, known as the Dirty Dozen.
Strawberries often rank high up on the list. The EWG suggest that people should buy organic strawberries to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.
However, if organic produce is outside of your budget, there is no need to worry. The nutritional benefit of eating conventionally grown food far outweighs the risk of pesticide exposure.
Beta-blockers, a type of medication that doctors most commonly prescribe for heart disease, might increase potassium levels in the blood. When taking beta-blockers, people should only consume high-potassium foods, such as strawberries, in moderation.
Consuming too much potassium can be harmful to people whose kidneys are not fully functional. If the kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could lead to hyperkalemia, or high potassium levels. This can lead to vomiting, breathing difficulties, and heart palpitations.
Strawberries offer a wide range of nutrients and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
They provide plenty of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
Strawberries can add a burst of sweetness to a healthful diet, although people with kidney problems should be careful about eating too many strawberries.