Top 10 Health Benefits of Strawberries
There’s nothing like eating fresh strawberries. Their mild, sweet taste and juicy texture can make anyone fall in love with these red berries.
A close relative to the rose, strawberries are the only fruit that carries its seeds outside rather than within. Their tempting look and spectacular taste have made them one of the most popular fruits among people of all ages.
The simplest and most common way to enjoy this fruit is to eat them in raw form. You can also use them in ice cream, jellies, jam, syrups, baked goods, chocolates and more.
Whether fresh or frozen, these berries have an impressive amount of health benefits that may surprise you.
They are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as folic acid, magnesium, manganese and potassium. With just 49 calories per cup, these berries are relatively low in sugar and a good source of dietary fiber. They also contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and flavonoids.
With over 600 varieties of strawberries, they are one of the top fruits rich in antioxidants.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of strawberries.
1. Regulates Blood Pressure
Strawberries are highly recommended for people who have high blood pressure. In fact, regular consumption of strawberries even helps prevent hypertension. It also maintains healthy oxygen levels by supporting a consistent blood flow throughout the body.
Being a natural source of potassium, strawberries aid in controlling blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. In fact, low potassium intake is one of the risk factors for developing high blood pressure.
A 1998 study published in Hypertension highlights the importance of potassium for blood pressure regulation and reports that potassium supplementation has a modest blood pressure-lowering effect in people with low dietary intake.
In addition, the magnesium content in them contributes to the reduction of blood pressure and improvement of blood flow and oxygenation.
Plus, the vitamin C in strawberries aids in keeping blood pressure under control, especially when dealing with stress. A 2011 study from Brazil shows that vitamin C aids in reducing the mean blood pressure and restoration of peripheral vasodilatation response during mental stress in obese children.
2. Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The huge amount of fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals and vitamins in strawberries help balance the cholesterol levels in the blood and simultaneously reinforce the cardiac muscle.
A 2004 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition reports that antioxidants in strawberries help lower the risk of cardiovascular events by inhibiting low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol oxidation, promoting plaque stability, improving vascular endothelial function and decreasing tendency for thrombosis.
Another study published in Metabolism in 2008 found that strawberry supplementation reduced oxidative damage to LDL while maintaining reductions in blood lipids and enhancing diet palatability.
One year later, a study published in Nutrition Journal found that short-term supplementation of freeze-dried strawberries appeared to exert hypocholesterolemic effects and decrease lipid peroxidation in women with metabolic syndrome.
A recent 2014 study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry also confirms that strawberry consumption improves the plasma lipids profile, biomarkers of antioxidant status, antihemolytic defenses and platelet function in healthy subjects.
By reducing the bad cholesterol in the blood, which causes plaque to build up in arteries, strawberries play a key role in lowering cardiovascular diseases as well as strokes.
A 2013 study published in Circulation found women who ate three or more servings of strawberries a week reduced their risk of a heart attack by 32 percent.
Furthermore, these berries decrease the inflammatory response within the body, which is one of the major causes of heart disease.
3. Maintains Healthy Skin
The several antioxidants in strawberries, including vitamin C, help prevent damage to the skin and body caused by free radicals. Vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen in the skin, which is needed for maintaining skin elasticity and resilience.
A 2005 study published in Dermatological Surgery highlights the importance of topical application of vitamin C as a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions. It can provide cutaneous benefits – promoting collagen synthesis, protecting against ultraviolet (UV) A and B rays, lightening hyperpigmentation and improving a variety of inflammatory dermatomes.
Also, strawberries are capable of protecting your skin against the damage of UV-B rays. Anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant in strawberries, protects the skin from the damaging effects of the environment, especially the sun. The antioxidant power of anthrocyanin lasts up to 24 hours after consumption.
Also, the lycopene in strawberries helps fight skin aging signs.
Regular consumption of strawberries makes your skin look younger and healthier, without signs of aging like wrinkles and age spots. You can even use these berries to make face masks.
- Combine ½ cup of mashed strawberries, 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of milk cream.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
- Apply this paste all over your face and neck.
- Allow it to sit for 20 to 25 minutes, then wash it off with cool water and pat dry.
- Use this face pack once a week.
4. Helps Fight Cancer
Strawberry consumption is also associated with a lower risk for esophageal, breast, colon, prostate and skin cancer.
The high vitamin C (an antioxidant) in strawberries can help with cancer prevention, since a healthy immune system is the body’s best defense. Antioxidants are scavengers to free radicals and neutralize the potentially negative effect they can have on cells.
Also, the phytochemicals, such as quercetin and ellagic acid, found in strawberries yield anticancer properties like suppressing cancer cell growth.
According to a 2006 study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, organically grown strawberries have high antiproliferative activity and anticarcinogenic properties.
A 2012 study published in Cancer Prevention Research highlights the potential of freeze-dried strawberry powder for preventing esophageal cancer, supporting further clinical testing of this natural agent.
5. Boosts Immunity
Strawberries contain vitamin C, which plays an important role in boosting your immunity.
In fact, just one serving of strawberries contains 51.5 mg of vitamin C, which is about half of your daily requirement.
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, helps the white blood cells function properly so that they can respond quickly to infections. It also enables the body to combat toxins and foreign bodies.
Also, vitamin C helps fight against the free radicals, which can cause damage to DNA or healthy cells, leading to numerous diseases like heart disease or cancer.
A 2011 study published in the Central European Journal of Medicine highlights the role of vitamin C on the selected cells of the immune system and potential molecular mechanisms involved. It shows that vitamin C has a positive impact on the immune system.
Regular consumption of strawberries can help with common problems like coughs, colds and other infections.
6. Combats Arthritis and Gout
Harmful free radicals in the body lead to the buildup of toxins and acids, which are the underlying cause of the degeneration of muscles and tissues as well as drying up fluid in the body. This can increase the risk of arthritis and gout.
Being rich in antioxidants, strawberries assist the body to flush out all the harmful waste and toxins. This in turn combats arthritis and gout.
Also, the anti-inflammatory nature of strawberries helps reduce inflammation of the joints, which may help reduce pain and swelling, two common symptoms of arthritis. In fact, intake of strawberries prevents elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indication of inflammation in the body. Also, strawberries help protect the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.
Plus, strawberries are a good source of folic acid. People suffering from arthritis may lack in folic acid.
7. Improves Cognitive Function
Strawberries contain high levels of antioxidants that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals.
Also, there are certain compounds in these berries that change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition.
Due to their ability to defend against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, strawberries can help prevent loss of memory and diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
A 2004 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition showed that preliminary animal studies indicated that diets rich in strawberries may have the potential to provide benefits to the aging brain.
A 2012 study published in the Annals of Neurology concludes that dietary intake of flavonoids, particularly from berries,appears to reduce rates of cognitive decline in older adults.
Another study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2012 reports that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes.
8. Aids Diabetes Management
Strawberries make an excellent choice for people with diabetes. Being a low glycemic index food and high in fiber, strawberries help regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows.
Also, the fiber helps slow the absorption of sugars in the blood.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggested that the ellagitannins and ellagic acid in strawberries have good potential for the management of hyperglycemia and hypertension linked to Type 2 diabetes. However, further studies with animal and human models are needed for a final conclusion.
A 2011 study published in PLOS ONE reports that eating about 37 strawberries a day can significantly reduce diabetic complications, such as kidney disease and neuropathy. The study showed that fisetin, a flavonoid in strawberries, aids the prevention of both kidney and brain complications in diabetic mice.
Plus, strawberries help in maintaining a healthy weight, which is one of the best defenses against Type 2 diabetes.
For diabetic people, the suggested serving size is ¾ cup of strawberries daily.
9. Promotes Eye Health
Strawberries are good for your eye health, mainly due to their high vitamin C content.
According to the American Optometric Association, vitamin C intake is important for eye health. This antioxidant lowers the risk of developing cataracts by helping the body fight free-radical damage. It also provides protection against eye diseases, such as glaucoma.
Vitamin C is also important for strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina.
When taken with other essential nutrients, vitamin C slows the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and visual acuity loss. AMD is the leading cause of blindness among older people.
Another important nutrient in strawberries that is considered good for your eye health is potassium. Without potassium, water levels in the body can get out of balance and lead to dry eyes. Furthermore, potassium helps to balance the ocular pressure in the eyes. Any disturbance in this pressure can be very harmful for the eyes.
10. Supports a Healthy Pregnancy
For women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, including strawberries in your diet is important. This is mainly due to the rich folate content in strawberries, which is essential for the formation and development of the baby’s brain in the early stages of pregnancy.
Plus, an adequate amount of folate intake during pregnancy helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
A 1999 study published in Pediatrics reports that an adequate amount of folate intake by expecting mothers is essential for the primary prevention of birth defects.
Another 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that folate deficiency is linked to neural tube defects.
Along with folic acid, strawberries are also a good source of iodine, which plays a key role in brain development, but even a mild deficiency during pregnancy can harm the baby’s brain development.
At the same time, strawberries provide calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and other vital nutrients that are important for the health of the expecting mothers as well as the unborn babies.