Strawberries, like other berries, are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As part of a nutritious diet, they can help prevent various conditions.

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One of these health conditions is type 2 diabetes. Evidence suggests this fruit lowers the post-meal increase in blood sugar in some people with obesity or excess weight.

Additionally, ingredients within strawberries may also help protect against heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and constipation.

Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional content and health benefits of strawberries, along with ways to add them to the diet.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that 1 cup of sliced, fresh strawberries, or 166 grams (g), contains the following nutrients:

  • calories: 53 calories
  • protein: 1.11 g
  • carbohydrates: 12.7 g
  • dietary fiber: 3.30 g
  • calcium: 27 milligrams (mg)
  • iron: 0.68 mg
  • magnesium: 22 mg
  • phosphorus: 40 mg
  • potassium: 254 mg
  • vitamin C: 97.60 mg
  • folate: 40 micrograms
  • vitamin A: 20 international units

Aside from vitamins and minerals, strawberries are also rich in phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that promote wellness. These include ellagic acid and a variety of flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, quercetin, kaempferol, and catechin, according to an older 2011 USDA database.

The nutrients in strawberries help support the body’s defense against the below conditions.

1. Heart disease

Strawberries might help protect against heart disease due to their anthocyanin and quercetin content. A 2019 study reports anthocyanin has links with a lower risk of heart attacks. Additionally, quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties that appear to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, according to 2016 research.

Potassium in strawberries also supports heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that there is an inverse relationship between the consumption of potassium and the risk of heart disease.

2. Stroke

A 2016 meta-analysis examined 11 clinical trials to assess the association between dietary flavonoid intake and stroke. It found that consuming these compounds may have an inverse link with the likelihood of the condition. After adjusting for the results for cardiovascular risk factors, the authors concluded that a diet higher in flavonoids may moderately reduce the risk of stroke.

Learn more about stroke.

3. Cancer

The nutritious compounds in strawberries and other berries may help protect against certain cancers, according to a 2016 review. They are primarily helpful in preventing gastrointestinal and breast cancers, but to a lesser extent, they may help prevent lung, prostate, liver, and pancreatic cancers. However, it is important to note that the cited studies were animal studies, which did not look specifically at strawberries, but berries in general.

Rather than identifying one compound responsible for this protection, the authors speculated that the benefit likely stems from a combined effect of all the compounds in strawberries working together. In conclusion, consuming strawberries may offer some protection against oral, breast, lung, and esophageal cancers, but more research is necessary.

Find out about the different types of cancer.

4. High blood pressure

The potassium in strawberries might offer some benefit for people with high blood pressure. This is due to how the substance helps offset the negative effects of sodium in the body, reports research in 2018. The authors found that increasing the intake of potassium-rich foods can lower blood pressure, which helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.

5. Constipation

Eating high fiber foods, such as strawberries, helps maintain regular bowel movements. Fiber promotes stool movement through the intestinal tract, which helps prevent constipation.

Experts also advise increasing water intake to promote regularity. Although it is important to drink plenty of fluids, eating water-containing foods, such as fruit, is also beneficial, as fruits contain 80–90% water.

Find out about the different types of diabetes.

Strawberries are available fresh, frozen, and freeze dried, as well as in jellies and jams. People looking to eat the fruit should check the labels of frozen and dried strawberries for added sugars. And when shopping for jellies or jams, individuals can choose all-fruit spreads that do not feature added sweeteners and fillers.

Rather than focusing on strawberries, it is best to add them to a nutritious diet that includes:

  • other fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • lean protein, such as beans, fish, and poultry without the skin
  • low fat dairy foods

Below are some tips for including more strawberries in diets:

  • Dice strawberries and add them to chicken salad.
  • Slice strawberries and sprinkle over plain yogurt, or make a parfait with alternating layers of strawberries, sliced almonds, and fruit.
  • Add strawberries to a fruit salad.
  • Sprinkle strawberries over oatmeal or a whole grain cereal.
  • Mix chopped strawberries with other fruit to make a salsa to serve over chicken.
  • Blend strawberries with a banana and yogurt to make a smoothie.
  • Serve sliced strawberries over whole grain pancakes and waffles.
  • Mix cut strawberries with spinach, walnuts, and goat cheese to make a tasty salad.

The disadvantage of strawberries is that they 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 this list. With this in mind, the EWG suggests buying organic strawberries to help reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.

Strawberries are rich in nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, that promote a range of wellness benefits.

The only disadvantage involves the presence of pesticides in conventionally grown strawberries, but a person can avoid this if they purchase the organic variety.

It is easy to incorporate this fruit into a nutritious diet in multiple ways, such as sprinkling them over yogurt or adding them to a spinach salad.