Sweet, soft, with a seed-studded surface, the strawberry in its ruby-red splendor is more than just a popular flavor. Strawberries are a superfood with tremendous health benefits! This fruit is fragrant, juicy, and an excellent source of vitamin C. In fact, a study examining 66 different fruits consumed by adults showed that strawberries were revealed to be the best source of vitamin C from a whole food source. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and the phytochemicals in strawberries are the main reasons for the variety of healing advantages.
Strawberries are anti-inflammatory
Strawberries contain powerful phytochemicals, which seem to inhibit cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2) enzymes, which are pro-inflammatory. In fact, preliminary studies have shown improvements in inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Strawberries have antibacterial properties!
Of the several different phytochemicals found in strawberries, ellagitannins, inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria such as salmonella, staphylococcus, and enterobacter sakazakii.
Strawberries are heart healthy!
Strawberries have the appearance of an adorable little heart. So it should be no surprise that they have the potential to improve a variety of cardiovascular benefits. Strawberries have been shown to decrease total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and improve blood pressure! Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) can increase the risk for high blood pressure and strawberries have been shown to decrease ACE activity, which positively affects blood pressure!
According to the Journal of Medicinal Food, fresh strawberries resulted in significant blood sugar benefits. Healthy adults were given excess table sugar (5-6 teaspoons), which of course caused a spike in blood sugar levels. Later on, the same adult subjects ate the same amount of table sugar simultaneously with one cup of fresh strawberries, which resulted in an overall reduced blood sugar spike! Researchers surmised that ellagitannin, produced this incredible effect.
Strawberries are native to South America and Northern Europe. The juicy strawberry we know and nibble on is a crossbreed between species from Chile and France. The French love these juicy fruits so much that the first known strawberry garden was grown in Brittany, France. Prior to this in the 18th centaury, the French foraged for wild strawberries in nearby forests and brought them back to their family farms.
For hundreds of years the strawberry was a fruit enjoyed mainly by the rich and famous because of limited transportation of produce. Strawberries and cream were a popular treat and because of the high demand, strawberries became the first produce to be transported via refrigerated train car, which paved the way for other produce to be transported year round.
Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits enjoyed in many countries. They are best eaten freshly picked to retain the highest potential for nutrient benefit and phytochemical activity. In order to see health benefits mentioned above, most subjects in research studies ate about 1-2 cups per day for a period of 1-3 months. Frozen strawberries are most likely the second best way to be consumed for their health benefits. Buying organic strawberries are highly encouraged! However I want to inspire people to eat fresh produce daily, even if they cannot afford organic because it is better than not buying/consuming any fresh fruits and vegetables at all. So enjoy strawberries (fresh or frozen) in a refreshing smoothie, sliced and tossed in a salad, blended up as a balsamic vinaigrette, or in a plant-based dessert such as FullyRaw Kristina’s strawberry shortcake!
Burton-Freeman B, Linares A, Hyson D et al. Strawberry Modulates LDL Oxidation and Postprandial Lipemia in Response to High-Fat Meal in Overweight Hyperlipidemic Men and Women. J Am Coll Nutr, Feb 2010; 29: 46 – 54.
Ellis CL, Edirisinghe I, Kappagoda T et al. Attenuation of Meal-Induced Inflammatory and Thrombotic Responses in Overweight Men and Women After 6-Week Daily Strawberry (Fragaria) Intake: a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Atheroscler Thromb. Jan 13, 2011.
Fernandes VC, Domingues VF, Mateus N et al. Organochlorine Pesticide Residues in Strawberries from Integrated Pest Management and Organic Farming. J Agric Food Chem. Jan 10, 2011.
Hannum, S. M. Potential impact of strawberries on human health: a review of the science. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2004;44(1):1-17.
Kanodia L, Borgohain M, and Das S. Effect of fruit extract of Fragaria vesca L. on experimentally induced inflammatory bowel disease in albino rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2011; Feb;43(1):18-21.
Kim, H. and Beuchat, L. R. Survival and growth of Enterobacter sakazakii on fresh-cut fruits and vegetables and in unpasteurized juices as affected by storage temperature. J Food Prot. 2005;68(12):2541-2552.
Nikniaz Z, Mahdavi R, Rafraf M et al. Total phenols and vitamin C contents of Iranian fruits. Nutrition and Food Science, 2009; 39(6): 603-608.
Pinto Mda S, de Carvalho JE, Lajolo FM, et al. Evaluation of antiproliferative, anti-type 2 diabetes, and antihypertension potentials of ellagitannins from strawberries (Fragaria — ananassa Duch.) using in vitro models. J Med Food. 2010 Oct;13(5):1027-35.
Puupponen-Pimia, R., Nohynek, L., Alakomi, H. L., and Oksman-Caldentey, K. M. The action of berry phenolics against human intestinal pathogens. Biofactors 2005;23(4):243-251.
Sesso HD, Gaziano JM, Jenkins DJA et al. Strawberry Intake, Lipids, C-Reactive Protein, and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Women. J Am Coll Nutr., Aug 2007; 26: 303 – 310.
Törrönen R, Sarkkinen E, Tapola N et al. Berries modify the postprandial plasma glucose response to sucrose in healthy subjects. The British Journal of Nutrition, 2010; 103(8): 1094-1097.
Welsh, Martin. “Strawberries”. Nvsuk.org.uk. Archived from the original on August 26, 2016.
Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM, Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Prior RL. Concentrations of Anthocyanins in Common Foods in the United States and Estimation of Normal Consumption. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 May 31;54(11):4069-4075. 2006.