Not only are strawberries sweet and delicious, but they are packed with incredible nutrients, especially antioxidants. Here’s how these gorgeous, red berries keep you healthy:
- Prevent heart disease.
Several research studies show that strawberries protect against cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks. Strawberries contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation inside blood vessels and the heart. Three or more (1/2 cup) servings of strawberries (or blueberries) each week are needed to attain these protective cardiovascular benefits.
- Control blood sugar.
Eating strawberries lowers blood sugar levels. When strawberries are consumed along with table sugar, blood sugar levels are significantly reduced, compared to the consumption of the table sugar alone. Polyphenols (antioxidants found in plant-based foods) are responsible for this blood-sugar controlling effect. Not surprisingly, strawberries also decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. This reduced risk for diabetes occurs when individuals eat at least 2-3 servings of strawberries per week.
- Maintain healthy teeth.
By reducing sugar levels in the mouth, strawberries naturally reduce dental plaque formation and tooth decay. Strawberries also whiten teeth, but dentists warn against rubbing them directly on your teeth, because their acidity may damage tooth enamel.
- Fight cancer.
Although not fully understood, strawberry extract helps prevents several forms of cancer, including oral, breast, cervical, colon, lung, and esophageal cancer. So far, this anti-cancer quality has been studied predominantly in animals, but additional research is anticipated with humans.
- Slow aging. Promising new evidence indicates that strawberry phytonutrients (healing compounds found in plant-based foods) improve brain function and physical abilities related to aging, such as movement and balance. These findings are likely related to strawberries’ robust ability to decrease inflammation.
Be sure to purchase organic strawberries, because conventional options contain high amounts of pesticides. Ideally, strawberries are eaten raw, since cooking depletes some of their nutritional value. Peak strawberry season is from April to June, the best time to find fresh-tasting varieties. Indulge yourself and nourish your body with this beautiful, juicy fruit.