Strawberries are among the most loved fruits in the world. Whether because of its pleasant flavor and aroma or the versatility of the pulp, which can be used in a variety of recipes, from desserts such as ice cream to natural juices.
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.
It was thanks to these and so many other benefits that the strawberry fruit gained the status of functional food. Do you want to learn all about its main benefits and 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 fiber, plus 11 milligrams of calcium and 10 milligrams of magnesium. Other minerals are also found in the pulp, such as: manganese, phosphorus, iron, sodium, copper, zinc and potassium. ( 1 )
Do you know the best? All these nutrients have good bioavailability. This means that they are absorbed almost completely, as they are in a way that the body perceives as ideal. ( 2 )
1. Favors brain functions
Another incredible benefit of strawberry is that it protects the brain from diseases that cause cell degeneration and, with that, 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. ( 3 )
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 red color. What actually happens is that these two substances work together to improve communication between the various areas of the brain. ( 4 )
To complete, a scientific article prepared by a researcher from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) explained that by improving this communication, the fruit makes the brain retain more information, which contributes to strengthening memory . ( 5 )
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 it a little help so that it can function better.
The research done at USP highlighted that this is derived from the action of stimulating the production of defense cells that is present in four types of vitamins found abundantly in the fruit, which are vitamins C, also called ascorbic acid, A, B9 and is.
All these nutrients cause the body to start producing more and more antibodies and other defense cells that are released into the bloodstream.
Thus, by keeping their consumption at high levels, you boost your immune system, leaving the body more protected against diseases. Especially those caused by viruses and bacteria. ( 3 )
3. Fights skin degradation
Thanks to the large amount of antioxidants in its composition, strawberries are able to fight the action of free radicals. It may seem useless, but calm down, let’s explain this.
Free radicals are some very unstable molecules that the body itself produces when it undergoes oxidation (degradation) of oxygen, fat and various other substances.
Until then, it is normal, but these molecules “stick” to the cells and start to cause healthy structures to also be destroyed and with that a chain reaction occurs, which leaves the body more fragile and prone to various diseases.
And that’s exactly 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. ( 6 )
4. It works to prevent heart disease
Did you know that eating a portion of strawberries every day reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease? Well, the fruit is able to reduce cholesterol and still control blood pressure, two of the main risk factors for heart problems .
A research published in the scientific journal, Journal of Molecular Sciences, found that this potential is derived from the power that the fruit has to stimulate the production of liver enzymes. These are substances with a “detergent” effect that dilute the fat in food. ( 7 )
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. ( 8 )
5. Control diabetes
Diabetes sufferers not only can, but should definitely add strawberries to the menu, as the fruit is great for controlling the sugar levels that are circulating in the blood.
This happens, according to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, thanks to the presence of a type of organic acid known as chlorogenic. This compound works by preventing the liver from releasing enzymes that convert carbohydrates into sugar, resulting in a decrease in what is circulating in the body.
On top of that, the fruit is rich in flavonoids, phytosterols and fiber, as already mentioned, which prevent the accumulation of sugar in the blood and also favor its expulsion. Thus, it promotes continuous diabetes control. ( 7 )
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 is due to the action of inhibiting a type of protein that starts the inflammatory process. This protein is a way for the body to quickly defend itself from an attack.
But this abrupt reaction brings harm to the body and, therefore, it is necessary to control it.
By leaving this protein low, the fruit makes the body not able to react with such intensity, which leads to a decrease in pain and redness, which are very characteristic signs of the problem. ( 4 )
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 weight or just control their weight. It is rich in fiber , which increases satiety and decreases the desire to eat throughout the day, ( 2 ) and has very few calories, each 100 gram serving has a mere 30 calories. ( 1 )
This set makes the fruit a perfect food, 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, avoiding 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, it is not necessary to add sugar in the jelly recipe and with this you enjoy even more the natural flavor of the fruit.
“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
To clean strawberries well, you should wash them under running water, without removing the green leaves. That done, prepare a mixture using 1 tablespoon of vinegar or baking soda with lemon for each liter of water and immerse the fruits for about 15 minutes.
The next step is to wash it again 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 important medicinal agent and can help fight and prevent various diseases.
To help with this, we invited the naturopath, Danilo Ramon, who recommended two very easy home remedies that take the fruit!
The first remedy indicated by the specialist is a tea made with strawberry leaves. To prepare you will need to put 1 teaspoon of the plant’s fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water.
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 great for treating inflammatory conditions, such as those in the throat. The best thing is that the use is very simple: you only need 10 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”, in place 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, is it? 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, a compound that 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 who have a history of kidney disease or calcium deficiency don’t need to stop eating. Just avoid excesses.
In addition, this is a very sensitive fruit and therefore receives a lot of pesticides during its cultivation. Therefore, always wash thoroughly before eating. ( 2 )
Origin and characteristics
The strawberry currently cultivated is of the species Fragaria ananassa and is the result of a natural crossing that took place 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 interesting thing about him? What is popularly called a fruit is actually a part of the flower, which is created just to hold and keep the real fruit safe, which are those hard, dark dots. Therefore, the red part of the strawberry is actually a pseudo-fruit or false fruit. ( 9 )
How to plant and care for?
Even though it is a plant better suited to cold climates, strawberry is widely cultivated in Brazil and 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 soil 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 the way the seedlings are produced, as the seedlings can be cultivated from seeds or stolons (type of seedling that comes out of an already mature plant).
Having chosen the method, you can now plant them in the ground. An important tip is, if you choose to cultivate from seeds, don’t bury them too deep. It is only necessary to put it in the vase and cover it with a very thin layer of earth, just so that they don’t dry out.
One of Embrapa’s guidelines is to cultivate the ‘little feet’ with good spacing between them, as the plant spreads out to the sides. The agency also recommends that old leaves be pruned frequently to prevent the foot from getting sick.
Another very important point to highlight is that the strawberry can not stand too much heat or too much water. Therefore, choose to plant the seedlings in colder months, so that they can gain more resistance, and water just enough so that the soil is always moist, but not soggy.
By following these tips and taking good care of yourself, you will be able to harvest your first strawberries in just two or three months after planting. ( 9 )