Healthy Benefits of Strawberries

Medical Benefits

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In just about any part of the world you will find people enjoying the wonderful flavor and the health benefits of Strawberriesstrawberries.   The red, fragrant, ground hugging strawberry plant has been wide spread as a wild native in many parts of the world dating back at least 2000 years.  For all of that time the wild species have been highly prized and recognized not only for their sweet flavor but for various health benefits.

A Brief History of Strawberries

Before the benefits of strawberries were known, for many hundreds of years the small, wild varieties were adapted to cultivation and harvesting practices.  Greatly prized but rather labor intensive for general consumption, they were a favorite delicacy of royalty and the rich.  Not until early in the 18th century did they start to become the fruit that we are familiar with today.

A French engineer working in Chile discovered a species of strawberry that was larger than the varieties in Europe.  When he returned with these Chilean species and tried to grow them in a field with French native berries they didn’t do very well at first until a natural cross breed was produced. The resulting berries were much larger and much sweeter than any that came before.  The health benefits of eating strawberries were not yet considered, but the berries were still reserved as a luxury for the wealthy. They didn’t become as widely consumed by commoners until the advent of the railroad systems that greatly sped up delivery and, hence, marketability of this now commonly available berry.

Strawberries

Even strawberries were intrinsically known by cultures throughout the globe, they weren’t specifically understood.  Wives tales, stories handed down for centuries, and recipes of traditional folk therapeutic practices were the means whereby people knew that there was more to them than just the wonderful taste. Native Americans  apparently understood the health benefits of strawberries and were reported to have used an infusion of strawberry leaves for upset stomach and diarrhea.  Anictdotes throughout Europe talked about the strawberry health benefits positively affecting all manner of illnesses such as gout, fevers, skin irritations, and longevity.

 

Strawberries Understood

It has only been recently that the scientific community has come to understand strawberries as a power house of nutritional foods and exactly why that is. All fruits and vegetables have powerful nutrition that our culture is not taking full advantage of. It turns out that

Strawberries

the nutritional benefits of strawberries are exceptional with regard to the levels of phenols, vitamin-C, and a host of antioxidants that explain the high regard that surrounds them.  The abundant anti-inflammatory properties in strawberries assist those who have stomach problems, irritable bowel, and even cardiovascular issues related to cellular inflammation caused by free radicals and oxidative stresses from the animal based diets that we are all used to.

Strawberries and Inflamation

Inflammation disorders like asthma, atherosclerosis, and osteoarthritis have been treated for many years by drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.  We are learning that strawberries carry phenols that fight these disorders in much the same way by inhibiting the active enzyme that causes the inflammation but without irritating the stomach and intestinal lining that often causing bleeding.

Strawberries

CANCER

Onset and development of cancer cells are largely dependent on an atmosphere of inflammation and toxic load in the body. Both cause a strain on the bodies’ immune system that, together with the weakening of the cell, allows the cancer to get a foothold. Anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants in strawberries fight against several different types of cancer from getting this foothold.  With the powerful flavonoids, vitamin C, and folate that are packed into strawberries, we have a natural, affordable weapon to keep our bodies safe from the ravages of cancer cells.

AGINGstrawberries

The same chemicals and systems that protect our bodies from cancer and other diseases help stay the ravages of time.  Science has found thatalmost all aging issues are cause and accelerated by inflammation and oxidation.  That being said, it stands to reason that any natural whole food that offers not only great nutrition but loads of antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory would be a logical choice for long life and good health. Vitamin B complex is composed of water soluble B vitamins, or folates.  This vitamin is critical for the production of new cells and their maintenance and health.  One of the health benefits of strawberries is that the berry provides one of the highest amounts of folate per cup of all fruits. This includes antioxidants that help repair damaged cells and prevent further damage thereby keeping the immune system strong and further lowering the cancer risk.

Strawberries

VISION

A recently published ophthalmology study shows the health benefits of strawberries in that that several servings of strawberries and other fresh fruits per day can lower age related macular degeneration risks. (The study emphasizes that the number of servings is important to maintain the level of health desired). The level of vitamin C from one cup of strawberries is 135% of the RDA.  This amount of antioxidant helps lower blood pressure, inhibits ocular diseases like cataracts, and allows the body to maintain a healthy, strong immune system.

HEALTHY BONES

Strawberries

The high levels of magnesium, vitamin K, and potassium found in strawberries and other fresh fruits play a critical role in the building and maintenance of bone structure and health.  The levels of calcium from various source foods require vitamin K to be in combination so that the calcium can be properly absorbed.

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STRAWBERRIES NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:

1.00 cup   Strawberries     144.00 grams       46.08 calories

Nutrient               Amount DV        (%) Nutrient Density                      World Healthy Foods Rating

Vitamin C             84.67 mg             141.1                                                      55.1 excellent

Manganese           0.56 mg                8.0                                                        10.9 excellent

Fiber                      2.88 g                    11.5                                                        4.5 very good

Folate                    34.56 mcg            8.6                                                          3.4 very good

Iodine                    12.96 mcg            8.6                                                          3.4 very good

Potassium           220.32 mg               6.3                                                          2.5 good

Magnesium        18.72 mg                 4.7                                                          1.8 good

Vitamin K             3.17 mcg                4.0                                                          1.5 good

Omega-3 fats     0.09 g                       3.8                                                          1.5 good

As you can easily see, the health benefits make this delicious fruit worth enjoying for more than just the taste!

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