From antioxidants to fiber, strawberries are packed with nutrients. See 12 benefits of eating strawberries, especially in smoothies.
What Are Strawberries?
Strawberries are juicy red fruits that grow on a vine. The plant is native to Europe.
In botany, however, strawberries aren’t true fruits. They’re part of the stamen, one of the plant’s reproductive organs.
The “seeds” are actually the fruits. But people call the whole red part a “fruit” to keep it simple.
Depending on the type, strawberries ripen between May to July.
Whether fresh or frozen, strawberries are delicious and healthy when added to smoothies.
RELATED: How to Freeze Strawberries
12 Strawberry Health Benefits
1. Reduces Oxidative Stress
Strawberries are known for their impressive amounts of antioxidants. Examples include vitamin C, anthocyanins, and polyphenols.
In the body, antioxidants reduce free radicals. These are harmful molecules that damage healthy cells and cause oxidative stress.
If oxidative stress builds up, it can contribute to heart disease, cancer, and other serious conditions.
Antioxidants work by “neutralizing” the free radicals. This is a process that makes free radicals harmless.
2. Fights Inflammation
Anthocyanins are plant pigments that give strawberries their red color. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning they fight inflammation.
Like oxidative stress, inflammation can increase the risk of chronic conditions.
It can also cause or worsen inflammatory diseases, like arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.
Eating anthocyanin-rich foods like strawberries could help manage inflammatory conditions.
RELATED: 12 Benefits of Eating Raspberries
3. Enhances Immune Function
Strawberries have more vitamin C than many other berries.
This is good for your immunity, because the immune system needs vitamin C to work properly.
The vitamin helps immune cells, called phagocytic cells, find and destroy bad germs. This includes viruses and bacteria.
Vitamin C also helps the body get rid of germs after they’ve been destroyed.
4. Promotes Good Digestion
High in fiber, strawberries are great for your digestive system.
Fiber moves slowly through the gut, where it absorbs water. This makes stool soft and easy to pass.
The result is regular and comfortable bowel movements, which reduces constipation.
Most people don’t get enough fiber each day. But eating strawberries is a tasty way to increase your fiber in take.
5. Increases Feeling of Fullness
Eating strawberries can help boost satiety and reduce hunger.
It’s all thanks to their high content of fiber. The nutrient increases the feeling of fullness because it takes a while to move through the body
Additionally, fiber increases satiety hormones. These hormones tell your brain that you’re full.
This is helpful for staying satisfied between meals or if you’re trying to control hunger cravings.
6. Manages Blood Cholesterol
The fiber in strawberries includes soluble fiber. This type of fiber can help lower blood cholesterol.
It works by binding to extra cholesterol. When the fiber leaves the body through the stool, it takes cholesterol with it.
This decreases the cholesterol in your blood, which promotes healthier levels.
Maintaining your blood cholesterol is key because high levels can lead to heart disease.
7. Improves Blood Sugar
The antioxidants in strawberries can control your blood sugar, or blood glucose, after you eat. This is called postprandial glucose.
They work by reducing how much glucose your body absorbs.
This can help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Or if you already have diabetes, it might improve your symptoms.
Fiber, which is found in strawberries, can benefit blood glucose levels too.
8. Supports Pre-Natal Health
Strawberries are rich in folate, also known as vitamin B9. It’s one of the most important nutrients for pre-natal health.
During early pregnancy, the fetus needs folate to form red blood cells. It’s also necessary for general growth and development.
Without enough folate, the fetus might develop brain or spine problems.
You can usually get enough folate from a pre-natal supplement. But eating folate-rich foods, like strawberries, can boost your intake even more.
9. Aids Skin Health
Another health benefit of strawberries involves the skin. It’s due to the high vitamin C content of the berries.
First, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It can reduce oxidative stress, which is necessary for healthy skin.
Otherwise, oxidative stress can damage skin and cause issues over time.
Vitamin C is also needed to make collagen, the most common protein in the body. Collagen makes the skin strong and elastic.
Since the human body can’t make vitamin C on its own, it’s important to get it through foods like strawberries.
10. Helps Wound Healing
When you have a cut or scrape, the skin uses collagen to repair the wound.
Strawberries can help because they’re high in vitamin C, which is needed to create collagen.
Plus, vitamin C increases cells called dermal fibroblasts. They’re in charge of making new skin tissue and healing wounds.
It’s essential for wounds to heal properly and quickly. If not, harmful germs can get in the body and cause infection.
11. Maintains Brain Function
Berries, including strawberries, are some of the best foods for brain health. This is due to the anthocyanins.
The antioxidant properties of anthocyanins protect nerve cells from damage. Nerve cells help your brain function, so it’s important to keep them healthy.
Anthocyanins also increase blood flow to the brain and improve the way nerve cells communicate.
This can keep your brain healthy, especially as you get older.
12. Boosts Iron Absorption
Non-heme iron is the type of iron that’s mostly found in plant foods. Examples include leafy greens, nuts, and grains.
Compared to heme iron, which is only found in meat, non-heme iron absorbed that well by the body.
The vitamin C in strawberries can help. When they’re eaten together, vitamin C increases the absorption of non-heme iron.
Iron is needed for healthy blood. Without enough iron, you might feel tired and fatigued.
The high fiber content of strawberries is one of the fruit’s top benefits. But it’s important to avoid eating too many at once.
Suddenly increasing your fiber intake can make you bloated and constipated. The risk is higher if you don’t usually don’t eat a lot of fiber.
It’s also possible to have a strawberry allergy. If you have a history of food allergies, be careful if you’re trying strawberries for the first time.
RELATED: 12 Benefits of Eating Bananas
Look for plump and bright red strawberries.
At the grocery store, pick strawberries that are firm, plump, and bright red in color.
These are signs that the strawberries are fresh and ripe.
Avoid strawberries that are mushy or moldy, which mean the fruits are going bad.
One trick to pick better fresh strawberries is to turn the container upside down to see if there are any brown or moldy spots.
Don’t wash strawberries until you’re ready to use them.
When putting strawberries in the refrigerator, make sure they’re dry.
Extra moisture can make the strawberries spoil quicker.
Wash the berries just before you’re ready to eat or freeze them.
Remove the green stems.
Before using strawberries, always remove the leafy green tops.
Simply slice them off with a knife, cutting as close as you can to the leaves. This will reduce how much fruit you cut away.
You can also use a strawberry huller or a metal straw to remove the stems.
Slice strawberries before freezing.
When freezing strawberries for smoothies, chop them into pieces first.
You can cut them into quarters or slices. If your blender isn’t very powerful, slices are the better choice.
This will protect your blender’s blades, as smaller pieces are easier to puree.
Strawberry Smoothie Recipes
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