The Wonderful Benefits of Strawberries
By Madalina Hubert
What’s red, heart-shaped, has a sweet-sour aroma and inspired delicious culinary creations for generations? The answer is the strawberry! Part of the rose family, it is aromatic and refreshing. And of course, these are not all the benefits of strawberries.
These fruits are full of goodness that nourishes the body and mind. From the ancient Romans to contemporary society today, medical practitioners have touted the health benefits of strawberries. These range from fighting infection to boosting digestion and nourishing the skin and bones.
Today, there are many varieties cultivated around the world, and these differ from region to region. Also, here’s a quick glance at strawberry history. Did you know when the colonists first arrived in North America in the early 17th century, they found that the natives were already baking strawberry bread? However, the garden strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) we love today was actually developed in Europe during the 18th century.
The Top 5 Benefits of Strawberries
1. Strawberries Boost Immunity
Strawberries help strengthen the body’s immunity. This is because they contain large quantities of vitamin C, an important immune-system boosting vitamin. Vitamin C helps the body fight against pathogens and seems to be particularly effective in preventing and treating respiratory and systemic infections.
2. A Benefit to the Digestive System
Strawberries are mostly made up of water (90%), which helps hydrate the body and stimulate digestion and regulate bowel movements. The high fibre content (approx. 3 g per cup) is one of the most important health benefits of strawberries. It is important in supporting healthy gut bacteria and regulating bowel movements, thereby alleviating constipation. Fibre also regulates blood sugar and that is why strawberries may be good for people with diabetes.
A healthy digestion system is key in ridding the body of any harmful toxins. You can read more about foods that detoxify here. Another benefit of fibre is that it gives a feeling of fullness, thus helping weight loss by reducing food cravings.
3. Benefits of Strawberries That Stimulate the Brain
In ancient times, the Romans believed that strawberries warded off feelings of melancholy. Modern studies have also linked strawberries to a healthy nervous system and to stimulating blood flow to the brain. Another of the health benefits of strawberries is that they may reduce cognitive decline in seniors.
4. Strawberries Promote Better Skin and Bone Health
Strawberries contain manganese (one cup has approx. 1/4 of the daily recommended dose). Manganese is an essential nutrient that contributes to well-being, including for skin and bone health. Strawberries can also be used to cleanse the skin, treat acne and protect against UV rays. You can find them as a common ingredient inside some face masks because of the skin benefits of strawberries! You can make your own at home to apply topically as well.
5. They Fight Against Cancer and Strokes
Strawberries contain several important antioxidants (flavonoids or anthocyanins) that contribute to fighting cancer. Higher flavonoid content in strawberries may also prevent strokes, so it’s a good idea to incorporate strawberries as part of the diet at any age.
Benefits of Strawberries in Traditional Chinese Medicine
The concept of dietary therapy is particularly important in traditional Chinese medicine, which focuses on the holistic connection between the human body, nature and the larger universe. You can read more here.
According to Chinese medicine, strawberries have cooling properties for the body. This especially beneficial in summer, as well as for those with cooler body constitutions. Strawberries can nourish the kidneys and life energy (qi), strengthen immunity, clear the throat, and moisturize both the skin and the internal organs, among other benefits. Many of these health benefits of strawberries do indeed coincide with studies in modern medicine.
May and June are the perfect time to enjoy strawberries. Here is a Candied Strawberries recipe you can try out!
As a last note, keep in mind that strawberries often have many pesticides. To fully savour the sweet aroma and take advantage of the health benefits, go for organic strawberries. Or grow your own if possible!
Madalina Hubert is a Toronto-based writer specializing in art, culture, travel, and culinary explorations.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are purely informational and educational in nature. The information is not a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.