Sweet and tangy, strawberries are the bright red fruits that contain a big burst of flavor in one bite-sized package. Delicious in jams or nestled on the top of a cake, they are also heaped with antioxidants and contain plenty of other health benefits, making them a great way to maintain your physical wellbeing while offering a natural pick-me-up when your energy levels drop.
If you suddenly find yourself craving something sweet, instead of grabbing a candy bar from your nearest gas station, head to a supermarket and pick up a punnet of fresh strawberries. The natural sugars in these sweet little fruits will be absorbed more slowly than processed sugars, meaning you won’t have an energy spike shortly followed by a sugar crash.
That’s just one of the benefits of eating strawberries, anyway, and if you’re looking for ways to get more strawberries in your diet, the possibilities are just about endless. Besides eating them just as they are, raw and ready to pop into your mouth, you’ll find them in full-fat yogurt and strawberry jam. Or, for a deliciously sweet-and-savory snack, why not just mash them up to mix them into cream cheese and spread across bagels?
Strawberries strengthen your immune system
Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, strawberries help protect your body’s cells from free radicals, which are deleterious molecules released when the body breaks down food, and can heighten the risk of heart disease and cancer. A single cup of raw fresh strawberries contains 140% of the required daily amount of vitamin C, containing no traces of fat and just 45 calories.
Strawberries are good for your heart
Containing notable quantities of potassium and fiber, strawberries help to regulate your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. The major benefit of potassium is the way it serves as a barrier from the detrimental effects of sodium, which can build up from excessive consumption of salty foods such as potato chips and instant noodles.
Because strawberries are responsible for reduced levels of inflammation and LDL (low-density lipoprotein, a negative variant of cholesterol), they’re the most heart-healthy fruits you can buy. An added bonus of the fiber found in strawberries is its aiding of digestive health and how it can help you lose weight, which in itself is very good for a healthy heart.
They whiten your teeth and protect your gums
Not just a delicious, low-calorie snack, strawberries also keep your gums healthy to prevent tooth loss and painful exposed nerve endings. Other dental benefits offered by strawberries include cleaner teeth, courtesy of the tooth-whitening substance they contain called mallic acid. You can enjoy the benefits of this as DIY tooth-cleaning kit by crushing a strawberry and mixing it with ½ teaspoon of baking soda to enhance the whiteness of your teeth.
Dip your toothbrush into this mixture and then gently coat your teeth, allowing the baking soda-strawberry compound to settle for five minutes before brushing with ordinary toothpaste. In that time, the mallic acid will have worn away some of the stain-producing bacteria which can settle on your enamel and, when scrubbed off, helps you achieve a brighter shade of white.
Make sure you scrub all of it off your teeth, however – and use some floss to remove any strawberry seeds – as excessive exposure to baking soda can have unwanted side effects. This cheap and easy beauty method should not be practiced more often than once every seven days, as you may experience premature deterioration of your tooth enamel. To stay on the safe side, try this one at home about once every fortnight so you don’t put the health and strength of your teeth at risk.
Besides whiter teeth, added beauty benefits of eating strawberries include the diminished appearance of fine lines in your skin, thanks to the traces of ellagic acid – which reduce skin cell inflammation – found in strawberries and the collagen-producing qualities of vitamin C. This vitamin also helps your body absorb iron, whose blood clotting properties accelerate the healing of cuts.
Strawberries improve your eyesight
Another benefit of the antioxidants found in strawberries is their capacity to prevent cataracts, the build-up of cloudy patches over the lens of your eyes, which can eventually cause blindness. The protein in your lenses can also be damaged by ultraviolet rays, but a form of protection can be found in vitamin C as they fortify the cornea and retina against the free radicals found in direct sunlight.
Vitamin C has also been known to soothe swollen eyes and prevent vision defects, dryness, and an eye disease known as macular degeneration, which can cause severe deterioration of vision in over-60s.
Strawberries aid pre-natal development
For women attempting to conceive a child or are already pregnant, one of your recommended B-vitamins is folate, as it helps prevent birth defects – and an easy way to up your folic intake is by eating strawberries. With a 21mg per serving dosage, they’re a flavorsome way to protect your child as well as satisfy a sweet tooth.
For those of you in the family way, check out our blog post on the best foods for pregnancy to learn what other foods you need in your diet, to support the healthy development of your child and maintain your own overall wellbeing.
Keeping your skin healthy, looking after your immune system, and all while keep you energised with their natural sweetness, strawberries really are an incredible little fruit. If you're looking for colour ways to get more into your diet, you can easily add them to a fruity smoothie. If you take a look at the banana-based smoothie from our suggestions of what to have for lunch at home, some added strawberries would definitely make a positive improvement. Don't just take our word for it and try some yourself!