Strawberries are a nutrient power house, like all brightly colorful fruits and vegetables. They are high in vitamin C, phytochemicals that can help lower risk for chronic diseases and full of fiber. Researchers are continuing to learn more about the full potential of health benefits from phytochemicals in strawberries.
Some health benefits of strawberries include playing a role in the immune system, fighting cancer cells, lowering inflammation, keeping skin healthy and lowering risk for cardiovascular disease.
Here is a closer look at the super health benefits of strawberries.
Lowering cardiovascular disease risk and improving skin health
Strawberries are a very good source of vitamin C; 8 large strawberries provide more vitamin C than one orange. One of vitamin C’s functions is to make collagen, a protein needed for skin, cartilage, tendons and blood vessels. Getting adequate vitamin C can help keep skin looking young by improving skin’s elasticity and resistance to wrinkling.
Eating vitamin C rich foods, like strawberries, may help protect against cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can protect blood vessels from damage and can protect cholesterol from oxidizing. Some research also suggests people who have a low intake of vitamin C increase their risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Fight off cancer cells
Some research suggests diets high in vitamin C are associated with lower cancer rates. This may be because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant protecting body cells from damage by free radicals. Other phytochemicals within vitamin C rich foods will also have a role in fighting off cancer cells.
Strawberries are rich in a phenolic compound called ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has been shown in research studies to fight off cancer cells. Strawberries contain other phytochemicals such as anthocyanins, quercetin and flavonols.
These antioxidants work together to protect from cancer cell growth, and this may be one reason why diets high in fruits and vegetables are often associated with a reduced risk for certain cancers.
Another surprising health benefit of eating strawberries is that it could help you delay cognitive aging and possibly protect brain function as you age. A 2012 study looked at the food intake of more than 16,000 women over 20 years. Researchers found that greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline.
Researchers concluded higher intake of flavonoids from berries can help reduce the rate of cognitive decline over the years.
How many strawberries do you need to eat to have a positive effect on brain health?
Researchers are still working to fully understand the relationship between berry intake and brain function. However, eating strawberries more than twice a week for multiple years was associated with slower rates of cognitive decline.
Participants who had a higher intake of strawberries also had higher physical activity levels, which could also positively impact brain function.
Strawberries can positively impact heart health because they are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants, as mentioned. The antioxidants can protect blood vessels from damage, lower inflammation and decrease oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL is considered more harmful than normal LDL.
Strawberries are high in potassium. Eating a diet high in potassium is associated with lowering blood pressure. The soluble fiber in strawberries can also help in lowering blood cholesterol.
Strawberries are high in fiber, and a serving of strawberries can contain twice the amount of finer compared to a serving of grapes.
Inflammation is associated with numerous diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and many others. In fact, eating a diet rich in foods high in phytochemicals, like strawberries, may help lower inflammation and possibly even pain associated with arthritis for some people.
Some research suggests people who have a diet high in foods with vitamin C are less likely to have arthritis.
Ways to add strawberries to your diet
Strawberries are best when they are in season and local. They can be snacked on as is for a sweet snack, or added to salads, yogurt, baked goods, oatmeal or cereal. When strawberries are not in season, buying frozen strawberries is an economical alternative. Frozen strawberries can also be a great addition for making homemade smoothies.
Strawberries have many compounds that make them so beneficial: vitamin C, phytochemicals, fiber and potassium to name a few. Vitamin C and other phytochemicals in strawberries can protect body cells from damage associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Compounds in strawberries can even protect brain function, and eating them consistently in the diet may help slow cognitive decline.
Strawberries are particularly rich in vitamin C which can also help prevent wrinkles in skin because vitamin C is used to make collagen in the body.
Find ways in which you can add strawberries to your diet to take advantage of these positive health benefits!
References used in this article