Know the Health Benefits of Strawberries

Edited by Ermin, Anonymous, Graeme, Robbi and 4 others

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Strawberries are low and perennial flowering plants of the rose family. The fruits of these plants are edible. Many people use the fruits for different purposes. Baking and making delicious jams and desserts are just a few of those uses.

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Strawberries hail from temperate regions, such as the United States, where some people grow strawberries among the crops on their farms. The fruits are widely distributed and traded throughout the world. Many Americans also plant strawberries in their home gardens, so that they can easily harvest and use them for different purposes. The first American variety of strawberries were cultivated in 1835. Hovey, the important strawberry variety, was first cultivated in Massachusetts.

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Strawberries were developed from the four major species. The first species is the wood strawberry, which is considered the fragile woodland plant species that is native to the West Indies, Mexico, and South America. The second species is the meadow strawberry that is native to eastern North America. The meadow strawberry was then introduced to Europe in the 17th century. The third strawberry is the beach strawberry, which originally comes from the mountain areas in the western region. The last but not the least is the strawberries grown in Central Europe. It is very important to know that the cultivated strawberries were actually developed from the North American varieties. The varieties are called Sharpless, Longworth, Crescent, and Wilson.

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Strawberry plants are cultivated in the early spring in the Northern regions of the United States. In California and the South, strawberries are cultivated in midsummer or later. In the following year, the plants will bear fruits during spring. The ever-bearing strawberries, another variety of strawberry plants, grow smaller crops of fruits in the fall. There are actually different varieties of strawberries, depending on the place where they are grown. The aforementioned varieties are American strawberry varieties.

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Strawberries: Active Properties, Minerals and Vitamins

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Now you have learned the brief history of strawberries and their principle kinds, so it is time for you to learn about their active properties, minerals and vitamins, which are responsible for the prevention and even treatment for some ailments and diseases. In fact, strawberries are listed among the world's healthiest fruits, while blueberries rank second to them. How do the fruits work in one's system? Read below to learn more:

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  1. 1
    Vitamin C.
    Strawberries are rich sources of vitamin C. This vitamin can supply the amount of vitamins needed for people with scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, which causes symptoms such as loosening of the teeth, bleeding into the mucus membranes and the skin, spongy gums, etc. Vitamin C can help ward off infection, germs, and bacteria from other sources that may result in serious diseases like scurvy. In addition, children who lack vitamin C can easily get viral diseases, like fever and common colds. Eat fresh strawberries, as these fruits have sources of vitamin C. However, health professionals recommend that people not take more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily. If they exceed the recommended dose, they may experience adverse effects, such as diarrhea and upset stomach.
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  2. 2
    Fiber.
    Strawberries contain soluble fiber. Take note that fiber comes in two forms: Soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can help protect the small intestines from ingesting potentially harmful substances from foods. This fiber can help bind bad cholesterol and carry it out of the body. In other words, soluble fiber-rich fruits like strawberries can prevent bad cholesterol and other harmful substances from entering into the bloodstream, where it can accumulate in arteries that may result in cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, artery diseases, and stroke. Studies of human populations with fiber-rich diets - for example, Asians and Africans - show that these people have a decreased risk of colon cancer, compared to those who only consume low-fiber diets, such as Americans. In fact, colon cancer is one of the big health concerns in the United States. However, health professionals believe that a proper diet can help prevent many types of cancer.
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  3. 3
    Polyphenol antioxidants.
    Like other berries, strawberries also contain powerful polyphenol antioxidants, vital compounds that can counteract harmful chemicals, like free radicals. When free radicals invade the body, they can convert chemicals into cancer-causing substances. Cigarette smoke, fumes and other environmental pollutants are among the sources of free radicals. Strawberries can prevent these harmful chemicals from entering the body. Vitamins C, A, and E can also act as antioxidants.
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  4. 4
    Potassium.
    This is an important nutrient because it balances electrolytes in the body. Balanced electrolytes help regulate fluid levels and the normal pH levels in the body, ensuring that the correct electric potential between neurons or nerve cells can enable the transmission of nerve signals. This is why potassium can also help in promoting brain health. However, the main purpose of potassium is to reduce the blood pressure that may result in cardiovascular diseases. According to the Food and Drug Administration, potassium-rich foods with low sodium can help lower the risk of stroke and hypertension. One serving of strawberries gives you five percent of the daily dose or value of potassium.
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  5. 5
    Folic acid or folate.
    This is an important vitamin B complex, which is widely known for its benefits for making the hair healthy. Folic acid can also help prevent birth defects in pregnant women. According to the US Department of Agriculture, pregnant women should take at least 0.6 milligrams of folic acid per day to avoid low-birth weight infants and birth premature. For breastfeeding women, they should take 0.5 milligrams of folic acid. Nevertheless, pregnant women should eat strawberries in moderation, as too much consumption can lead to some side effects. Moreover, some studies suggest that folic acid or folate can ward off growth of cancer cells and tumors and lower high blood pressure.
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  6. 6
    Manganese.
    This is another important nutrient that can act as cancer prevention. Strawberries are also rich in manganese. This nutrient can help make the bones stronger and healthier, regulate blood sugar levels, protect the nerve cells and other cells from free radicals, synthesize cholesterol and fatty acids, and activate other nutrients in the body, such as ascorbic acid, biotin, choline, thiamine, etc. Although manganese is considered a helpful nutrient for the body, it also has some adverse effects if taken too much. Health professionals recommend consuming 11 milligrams of manganese per day. If you exceed the recommended dosage, you could be prone to serious diseases, such as Parkinson's and liver diseases.
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Health Benefits of Strawberries:

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The above section is a list of vitamins, minerals, and active properties that are abundant in the fruits. In this section, you will learn more about the health benefits of strawberries. More elaboration and discussion of how strawberries can make one very healthy are written below:

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  1. 1
    Cardiovascular diseases.
    Coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure are examples of cardiovascular diseases. Almost all nutrients found in strawberries can prevent the body from getting these types of diseases. However, you should not always rely on fruits and vegetables to get rid of unwanted diseases. You should also combine your diet with regular exercise. Strawberries have antioxidants and helpful nutrients that can help eliminate toxins and harmful chemicals in the body, which may result in coronary heart diseases and stroke. The sooner people start eating a higher intake of berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, the more likely they will be able to prevent themselves from developing cardiovascular diseases as they age, according to Dr. Eric Rimm, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. In addition, women who eat a lot of strawberries are 34 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. He suggested three or more servings of a half a cup of strawberries each week.
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  2. 2
    Growth of cancer.
    In the early stages of cancer development, you should start eating strawberries as the polyphenol antioxidants can combat free radicals and other harmful compounds. Cancer can be hereditary, so especially if you have a family history of cancer, you should start consuming foods abundant in fiber, low-calories, phytonutrients, folate, and other vitamins and minerals now. Strawberries are exceptional super fruits, as they are among the most protective herbs. Although cancer can be hereditary, it can often be prevented by practicing healthy lifestyle. Some studies show that the polyphenols found in strawberries can reduce the risk of lung, colon, prostate, breast, cervical, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer.
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  3. 3
    Tooth decay and gum disease.
    According to the researchers of the Journal of Dentistry published in 2009, strawberries can help keep the teeth strong and healthy, as the nutrients can kill germs and bacteria in the mouth that may result in gum disease and tooth decay. It was also reported that strawberries can help whiten the teeth, so not only can eating fresh strawberries help you get a healthy body, but it can also help whiten and strengthen your teeth. Do not rub your teeth with strawberries (like some people do as home remedy), as it can damage the enamel.
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  4. 4
    Immunity.
    You may not easily get infected by viral diseases if you eat a cup of sliced strawberries per day. In this cup, you can get 163 percent of your daily vitamin C. This is actually more than a whole orange. Never cook or bake them as this can destroy the important nutrients found in them. You can eat them fresh or use them for making herbal drinks and even salads. Before that, you should refrigerate the whole fruits (not sliced yet), because if you refrigerate them, you will preserve the most nutrients. Strawberries can boost your immunity by protecting your body from harmful substances. When you eat strawberries, they can also help heal wounds more quickly.
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  5. 5
    Bone health.
    Strawberries have rich sources of potassium, which can help prevent osteoporosis and other bone-related malformations. This is the most common problem in older adults, because they lack potassium and calcium. Potassium can help store calcium and prevent the bones from breaking down, which is associated with age.
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  6. 6
    Skin aging.
    Strawberries are rich sources of antioxidants. These compounds are not only for preventing growth of cancer cells, but they are also good for counteracting signs of skin aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. The antioxidants can help promote growth of tissues and cells that can help the body repair itself. In addition, the compounds can guard your skin from inside and outside, which can be very helpful if you expose yourself to sunlight. Sun rays can damage your skin, but the antioxidants can shield you from it.
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  7. 7
    Inflammatory diseases.
    Strawberries are natural anti-inflammatory agents because of their phenols. The fruits can reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases, such as asthma, atherosclerosis, and osteoarthritis. They can do what ibuprofen and aspirin do – alleviate inflammation. However, strawberries do not cause side effects, unlike modern medications.
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Summary of the Nutritional Value of Strawberries:

Here is a summary of nutritional value found in a cup of whole strawberries:

  1. 1
    Protein:
    0.96 grams
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  2. 2
    Calories:
    46
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  3. 3
    Dietary fiber:
    2.9 grams
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  4. 4
    Potassium:
    220 milligrams
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  5. 5
    Phosphorous:
    35 milligrams
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  6. 6
    Magnesium:
    19 milligrams
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  7. 7
    Calcium:
    23 milligrams
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  8. 8
    Sodium:
    1 milligram
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  9. 9
    Iron:
    0.59 milligram
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  10. 10
    Manganese:
    0.556 milligram
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  11. 11
    Vitamin A:
    17 IU
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  12. 12
    Folate:
    35 micrograms
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  13. 13
    Vitamin C:
    84.7 milligrams
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  14. 14
    Vitamin B1:
    0.035 milligram
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  15. 15
    Vitamin B2:
    0.032 milligram
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How to Make a Strawberry Salad:

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Eating fresh strawberries can help you get the full nutrients found in them. However, strawberries may not have some rich sources of vitamins and minerals which other fruits and veggies abundantly have. In order to become healthier and consume all nutrients capable of reducing risks of diseases, you may want to prepare a strawberry salad with a twist! In this section, you will learn how to prepare a strawberry, spinach, and red onion salad:

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  1. 1
    Ingredients:
     
    1. 1/2 tsp. of sea salt
    2. 1/4 cup of extra virgin coconut oil
    3. 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
    4. 2 cups of sliced strawberries
    5. 1 large finely sliced yellow pepper
    6. 1 medium finely sliced red onion
    7. 4 cups of baby spinach
    8. 1/2 cup of pine nuts
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  2. 2
    Procedure:
     
    1. Layer the veggie ingredients in a salad bowl and sprinkle them with pine nuts and berries.
    2. In a mason jar, mix the dressing ingredients well.
    3. Pour the dressing over the salad in the bowl. Mix them well and then refrigerate.
    4. Taste and enjoy your new strawberry - with a twist - healthy salad!
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Making a Strawberry Smoothie:

The strawberry smoothie is one of the tastiest and healthiest fruit drinks. To make your strawberry smoothie unique but still tasty, you may want to mix strawberries with watermelon. Follow the steps below to make one:

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  1. 1
    Watermelon juice - ermin.jpg
    Ingredients:
    [This makes one large glass of smoothie.]  
    1. 1/4 cup of plain yogurt
    2. 1/4 cup of cream
    3. 1 1/2 cup of frozen diced watermelon
    4. 1 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries
    5. 2 tbsp. of orange juice
    6. 1 tbsp. of white sugar
    7. 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract
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  2. 2
    Procedure:
     
    1. Add all ingredients into a blender.
    2. Blend them thoroughly until smooth.
    3. Fill your glass with the smoothie and add ice cubes (optional).
    4. Drink and enjoy your new strawberry with watermelon smoothie!
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Tips & Warnings:

  • Strawberries are safe to consume in small amounts for breastfeeding and pregnant women. Large amounts can cause adverse effects. For other people, strawberries are generally safe to eat.
  • There are no known medicinal interactions with strawberries, but you should still consult your doctor if you are taking medications before eating too many strawberries. The fruits are rich in certain vitamins and minerals, and if these are consumed too much, it may cause side effects.
  • You may want to prepare a combination of fruits and vegetables, like salads, in order to get balanced nutrients. Strawberries alone may not give you the all the healthy nutrients needed for your body, although the fruits are known to be excellent sources of antioxidants that can help fight against cancer formation.

Questions and Answers

Health benefits of strawberries during pregnancy according to doctors?

Pregnant women need a great amount of folate, and strawberries contain a lot of it. The fetus can also benefit when the mother takes folate as directed by her physician. Strawberries are high in fiber as well, so pregnant women can eat them to help prevent or get rid of constipation, which they are prone to.

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