The benefits of strawberries are numerous and this summer fruit is packed with goodness like vitamins and minerals. As you'll discover, they make a surprisingly hard-working, nourishing addition to your daily diet and you'd be wise to consume them regularly as part of your five-a-day.
We've asked the experts to explain exactly why you should be munching on strawberries more often - and not just as a pretty cake topper or with cream. Their many positives range from more youthful skin and improved mental health, to boosted immunity and better digestion.
So, if you want to ward off nutrient deficiency or are trying to learn how to eat less - but better - on a healthy, sustainable weight loss journey then it could be worth munching on more of the sweet fruit. All that's left to decide is whether you want them scattered on your breakfast, blended into a smoothie or as part of a fruit salad to snack on...
Are strawberries good for you?
“Strawberries are fantastic sources of vitamins C and K, as well as fiber, manganese, potassium and folate," notes Kathryn Danzey, health coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (opens in new tab). "They also contain plenty of phytonutrients and flavonoids, which give them that gorgeous red hue."
However, it's their aforementioned high vitamin C content that is singled out by Danzey as being particularly beneficial. "Just one serving of strawberries is more than enough to provide your recommended daily allowance of this key nutrient," she explains. "As such, they are a great way of boosting the immune system and helping you to fight off bugs and nasties.
"Additionally, as a potent antioxidant, vitamin C is also fantastic at helping protect us to fight off serious conditions because it can aid our bodies in neutralizing free radicals. In particular, strawberries contain flavonoids, which have been linked to fighting cancer and tumors."
Benefits of strawberries
1. Fight aging
"Strawberries can help us to stay beautiful, by encouraging plumped-up, fresher skin," reveals Danzey. "This is thanks to the high amounts of vitamin C, which supports the body in producing collagen.
"This same nutrient also fights free radicals, which can help ward off fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of premature aging." So, in addition to your beloved face moisturizer with SPF, you'd be wise to make the fruit part of your toolkit for retaining a healthy glow.
2. Promote health
The vibrant red color of strawberries is down to the large amounts of anthocyanidin, a common plant pigment, that it contains. This in itself is packed with generous amounts of polyphenols, which have been linked to protection against cancer, heart disease and inflammation.
In fact, the fruit contains many nutrients that work in tandem to keep you well. "There are antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which mop up free radicals that can damage DNA," explains nutritionist Jo Travers, of The London Nutritionist (opens in new tab). "Another important vitamin is folic acid which is needed for cell division, and there is also lots of blood pressure-lowering potassium."
3. Boost immunity
It is likely that oranges first spring to mind when thinking of fruits to help boost your immune system. But strawberries are almost as brilliant an option - with eight pieces of the fruit actually containing more vitamin C. So, if you're trying to ward off a cold, then perhaps try mixing it up.
Similarly, strawberries are also great at helping to protect us from allergies. ""This is because they are anti-inflammatory and contain a special flavonoid known as fisetin," explains Danzey. "It works to help our body’s immune system to control inflammatory reactions to potential allergens."
4. Protect eyes
"The flavonoids and phenolic phytochemicals found in our strawberries are likewise great at helping our eyes to stay healthy, as they are thought to reduce our risk of conditions such as macular degeneration," explains Danzey.
"Meanwhile, the vitamin C content can also help to protect our eyes from free radicals from the sun’s harsh UV rays, as well as strengthening the cornea and retina."
5. Boost memory
Similarly, this unstoppable little fruit might also be able to improve your brain power. According to research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (opens in new tab), strawberries were able to increase short-term memory.
It is thought that the antioxidants they contain, called anthocyanins, were responsible. Indeed, the scientists found that eight weeks of consistent consumption of the fruit was enough for a considerable positive effect.
6. Slow-release energy
If you were feeling tired in winter and want to help energize yourself through summer better then it's important to ensure your diet is providing the nutritious fuel you need. Strawberries, of course, are an ideal addition.
"They are low-GI, which means that the carbohydrate in them enters the bloodstream gradually so they won't cause sugar spikes," explains Travers of how they provide slow-release energy. She adds that they also contain lots of fiber, another great slow-release energy source, which according to official guidelines (opens in new tab) we should be aiming to get around 30g a day.
7. Lift mood
"Amazingly, these delicious berries can also help us to improve our mental health," says Danzey. "This is because their seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid which has been found to boost the mood."
If you're looking for other ways to improve your mental health through diet, then it's important to also ensure that you're consuming enough oily fish and nuts. Indeed, one of the benefits of omega-3 - which these foods are rich in - is how it can help ward off anxiety symptoms.
When are strawberries in season?
Unfortunately, strawberries are not ripe for consumption all the time. Across the eastern and midwestern northern states of the United States, the fruit is usually in season from mid-May to early July, while in most southern states it will often be late April and May.
Nutritional therapist Katie Ward (opens in new tab) suggests freezing them while they're in-season so you can enjoy them fresh whatever the time of year. What is the best way to consume the fruit? "Always pair with protein and fat to aid balanced blood sugar levels," she advises. "They make a great snack and pudding, as well as an addition to breakfast or smoothies."
There's also the question of consuming organic versus non-organic forms of the produce. Ward recommends the former because the latter are highly sprayed with pesticides. However, when it comes to nutritional value, there only seem to be small differences. David Handley, a small fruit expert at the University of Maine, notes: "I've read research that bounces both ways - one study claims conventionally grown strawberries contain more potassium, while another study might say that organic strawberries are higher in zinc."
Lauren is a freelance writer and editor with more than six years of digital and magazine experience. In addition to Womanandhome.com she has penned news and features for titles including Women's Health, The Telegraph, Stylist, Dazed, Grazia, The Sun's Fabulous, Yahoo Style UK and Get The Gloss.
While Lauren specializes in covering wellness topics—ranging from nutrition and fitness, to health conditions and mental wellbeing—she has written across a diverse range of lifestyle topics, including beauty and travel. Career highlights so far include: luxury spa-hopping in Spain, interviewing Heidi Klum and joining an £18k-a-year London gym.
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