Strawberries are among the most loved fruits in the world. Whether because of its pleasant flavour and aroma or the versatility of the pulp, which can be used in various recipes, from desserts such as ice cream to natural juices.
Being tasty is not its only advantage; this fruit is an essential source of vitamins C and A and minerals such as calcium, iron, and potassium. Therefore, it has several benefits.
To give you an idea of its power, eating strawberries regularly protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases, prevents cardiovascular problems, and even helps you lose those extra pounds.
These and many other benefits made strawberry fruit a functional food. Do you want to learn all about its main advantages, still see tips for healthy recipes, and learn how to plant at home? So keep reading!
7 Strawberry Health Benefits
Each 100-gram serving of strawberry raw has 6.8 grams of carbohydrates and 1.7 grams of dietary fibre, 11 milligrams of calcium, and 10 milligrams of magnesium. Other minerals in the pulp include manganese, phosphorus, iron, sodium, copper, zinc, and potassium.
Do you know the best? All these nutrients have good bioavailability. This means they are absorbed almost completely, as they are in a way that the body perceives as ideal.
1. Favors brain functions
Another incredible benefit of strawberry is that it protects the brain from diseases that cause cell degeneration and loss of cognitive capacity.
According to a survey carried out at the University of São Paulo (USP) in 2003, this is due to the presence of vitamins A, through carotenoids, C, and E (tocopherol), which manage to prevent brain cells from starting to deteriorate.
That’s not just why eating strawberries is good for the brain. The results of other research done at Oklahoma State University in 2014 indicated that it also makes the mind work more efficiently.
This process occurs because the pulp is rich in catechin and anthocyanin, compounds responsible for the colour red. What happens is that these two substances work together to improve communication between the various areas of the brain.
To complete this, a scientific article prepared by a US Department of Agriculture researcher explained that by improving this communication, the fruit makes the brain retain more information, strengthening memory.
2. Helps strengthen immunity
The immune system is the body’s way of defending against various types of diseases, and the good news is that eating strawberries can help you give them a little help to function better.
The research done at USP highlighted that this is derived from stimulating the production of defence cells present in four types of vitamins found abundantly in the fruit: C, also called ascorbic acid, A, B9, and is.
All these nutrients cause the body to start producing more and more antibodies and other defence cells released into the bloodstream.
Thus, keeping their consumption at high levels boosts your immune system, leaving the body more protected against diseases. Especially those caused by viruses and bacteria.
3. Fights skin degradation
Thanks to many antioxidants in its composition, strawberries can fight the action of free radicals. It may seem useless, but calm down; let’s explain this.
Free radicals are volatile molecules the body produces when it undergoes oxidation (degradation) of oxygen, fat, and other substances.
Until then, it is regular, but these molecules “stick” to the cells and start to cause healthy structures to be destroyed, and with that, a chain reaction occurs, leaving the body more fragile and prone to various diseases.
And that’s precisely where strawberry antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid, beta-carotene (vitamin A), and tocopherol, come in. They prevent these destructive molecules from circulating freely.
Thus, it is confirmed that they act to prevent numerous diseases and also premature aging since antioxidants also influence the skin, and consuming them makes it look younger and healthier.
4. It works to prevent heart disease
Did you know that eating some strawberries daily reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease? Well, fruit can lower cholesterol and control blood pressure, two of the main risk factors for heart problems.
Research published in the scientific journal, Journal of Molecular Sciences, found that this potential is derived from the fruit’s power to stimulate the production of liver enzymes. These are substances with a “detergent” effect that dilute the fat in food.
Another factor that makes the fruit effective against high cholesterol is the amount of fibre present in it. Fibre sticks to fat and does not allow it to be absorbed by the body.
The fruit is also rich in some types of organic acids that have vasodilating properties. As explained in an article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, this helps the blood to circulate better and prevents the development of hypertension.
5. Control diabetes
People living with Diabetes not only can but should add strawberries to the menu, as the fruit is excellent for controlling the sugar levels circulating in the blood.
According to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, this happens thanks to the presence of a type of organic acid known as chlorogenic. This compound prevents the liver from releasing enzymes that convert carbohydrates into sugar, decreasing what is circulating in the body.
On top of that, the fruit is rich in flavonoids, phytosterols, and fibre, as already mentioned, which prevent sugar accumulation in the blood and favour its expulsion. Thus, it promotes continuous diabetes control.
6. Reduces inflammation symptoms
Eating strawberries raw or using them in recipes also helps reduce the bothersome symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as allergies and rheumatic diseases.
This anti-inflammatory action inhibits a protein that starts the inflammatory process. This protein is a way for the body to defend itself from an attack quickly.
But this abrupt reaction harms the body, so it is necessary to control it.
By leaving this protein low, the fruit makes the body unable to react with such intensity, which leads to decreased pain and redness, which are very characteristic signs of the problem.
7. Favors weight loss in a natural way
Feel like losing a few extra pounds? So start eating strawberries now!
It seems like an exaggeration, but the fruit is excellent for those who want to lose or control their weight. It is rich in fibre, which increases satiety, decreases the desire to eat throughout the day, and has few calories. Each 100-gram serving has a mere 30 calories.
This set makes the fruit perfect, but it’s no use eating pounds hoping for a miracle and not changing the diet, ok? To lose weight, it is necessary to have a diet rich in natural foods, avoid fried foods, sausages, and ultra-processed foods, and also practice regular physical exercise.
Learn some healthy desserts with fruit.
Lactose-free strawberry ice cream: Who says there is no such thing as healthy ice cream? This one takes only two ingredients and can be consumed even by those who are lactose intolerant or do not consume milk.
Sugar-free strawberry jelly: As strawberries are already naturally sweet, adding sugar to the jelly recipe is unnecessary; with this, you enjoy the fruit’s natural flavour even more. “Jellies are a good option for consuming fruit because it preserves almost all the nutrients and active principles of fresh fruit, although they lose a portion of vitamin C,” explained the naturopath Danilo Ramon.
Bomb, kiss, and strawberry smooth: A sweet can also be healthy. Just knowing how to choose the right ingredients and always use moderation when eating.
Tips on how to clean and cut strawberries
Wash strawberries under running water without removing the green leaves to clean them well. Once that is done, prepare a mixture using one tablespoon of vinegar or baking soda with lemon for each litre of water and immerse the fruits for about 15 minutes.
The next step is to rewash it under running water to remove the remains of the cleaning solution, and your berries will be ready to use. There is also a trick to remove the cabin without losing any of the fruit. Check it out!
Strawberry home remedies
Strawberries are not just used for food. The fruit is also an essential medicinal agent and can help fight and prevent various diseases.
To help with this, we invited the naturopath, Danilo Ramon, who recommended two easy home remedies that take the fruit!
The first remedy indicated by the specialist is a tea made with strawberry leaves. Put one teaspoon of the plant’s fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water to prepare.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes, then strain and add honey to sweeten. “This recipe is great to supply calcium levels and improve digestion, as it helps with stomach pH,” explained Danilo.
Yes, strawberry juice can also be used as a home remedy and is excellent for treating inflammatory conditions, such as those in the throat. The best thing is that the use is simple: you only need ten strawberries and a glass of water.
Blend everything in a blender and drink without straining. The expert also indicated that the fruit “can be used as a vitamin, using orange juice, soy milk or cereal milk” instead of water.
Care when consuming the fruit.
With all these benefits and uses, it’s no wonder this is one of the most consumed fruits in the world. And the good news is that there are no contraindications, but you still need to be careful in some cases.
This is because strawberries have a large amount of oxalic acid, which binds to calcium molecules and prevents this mineral from being absorbed.
The biggest problem with this is that calcium goes straight to the kidneys and builds up, which increases the risk of developing kidney stones. But people with a history of kidney disease or calcium deficiency don’t need to stop eating. Just avoid excesses.
In addition, this is a susceptible fruit and therefore receives a lot of pesticides during its cultivation. Therefore, always wash thoroughly before eating.
Origin and characteristics
The strawberry currently cultivated is of Fragaria ananassa, resulting from a natural crossing between two other species. Strawberry is a creeping plant, with large dark green leaves, originally from countries with a temperate climate.
A curiosity is that the species belongs to the Rosaceae family, the same botanical family of roses, according to Embrapa.
Want to know one more exciting thing about him? What is popularly called a fruit is a part of the flower created to hold and keep the natural fruit safe: those hard, dark dots. Therefore, the red part of the strawberry is a pseudo-fruit or false fruit.
How to plant and care for?
Even though it is a plant better suited to cold climates, strawberry is widely cultivated in the US. You can plant it and have your organic strawberries at home.
First, it is necessary to produce the soil that will receive the plant. The ground must be well-drained, soft, and full of organic matter. The vase should be in a place where there is plenty of light, as explained by Embrapa.
After preparing the land, you must choose how the seedlings are produced, as the seedlings can be cultivated from seeds or stolons (a type of seedling from an already mature plant).
Having chosen the method, you can now plant them in the ground. An important tip is that if you cultivate from seeds, don’t bury them too deep. Putting it in the vase and covering it with a skinny layer of the earth is necessary so they don’t dry out.
One of Embrapa’s guidelines is cultivating the ‘little feet’ with good spacing between them as the plant spreads to the sides. The agency also recommends pruning old leaves frequently to prevent the foot from getting sick.
Another critical point is that the strawberry can not withstand heat or water. Therefore, plant the seedlings in colder months to gain more resistance and water just enough so that the soil is always moist but not soggy.
Following these tips and caring for yourself, you can harvest your first strawberries two or three months after planting.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.