Benefits of Strawberries
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Antioxidants are nutrients in certain foods that can prevent, or slow down the damaging process known as oxidation in our bodies. Strawberries are near the top of the healthy food list because they are antioxidant rich making them a very healthy food.[5]

So what is oxidation?

Our cells use oxygen to do whatever cells do to keep us alive and healthy.  However, while doing their thing, they produce by-products known as free radicals which do damage to the body.

Antioxidants fight off these free radicals and even repair the damage that they have caused within cells. Some of the most serious diseases of the modern era such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer all have their roots and to some extent, can be attributed to this oxidative damage that begins at the cellular level.

Here are some of the reasons why you should get more strawberries and some quick healthy recipes to get more in your diet. 

Strawberries Fight Cancer

Strawberries contain ellagic acid have anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic activity which simply means that it has been shown in animal studies to inhibit the growth of tumors caused by certain carcinogens.[1]

The American Cancer Society says that ellagic acid has shown promise as a natural supplement because it kills cancer cells in labs without affecting healthy cells.[2]

Furthermore, antioxidants are believed to strengthen our immune system resulting in lower rates of infection and cancerous tumors. [2] 

Preventing Breast, Liver and Cervical Cancer

Strawberries contain phytochemicals which have been shown to inhibit the early stages of tumor growth. In fact, researchers at Clemson University tested freeze dried strawberry extract against cultures of aggressive lines of cervical and breast cancer resulting in a significant decrease in the growth of both cancer cells[2].

In addition, other studies analyzed 8 different types of strawberries to determine the amount of phenols and anthocyanins within them. All of them were shown to significantly inhibit the proliferation of human liver cancer cells.[2]

Strawberry Compounds May Improve Memory

Due to the activity of free radicals within our bodies, our brain tissue starts to degenerate as we age. The surrounding nerves also become weaker. With the loss of brain connections, it is very common to lose some memory as we age. This degeneration in our brains can even lead to a loss of control over muscles and limbs.

Strawberries can help to neutralize the effects of these oxidants and rejuvenate our brain pathways.

Researchers at the USDA published a study in the Journal of Neuroscience that showed that rats that ate strawberries every day had significant improvements in their short-term memory and overall brain function.[1]  Their motor skills also showed significant improvement. This was the first study to show that fruits and vegetables can not only prevent or inhibit some diseases, but they can actually reverse dysfunctions in behavior and never damage.

Strawberries also contain iodine which is believed to aid in the regulation of brain functions and the nervous system.[3]

Potassium is another nutrient that is found in significant quantities in strawberries. Potassium has been shown in studies to increase blood flow to the brain which improves cognitive function.  Researchers observed that when students have high levels of potassium in their blood, the have high levels of concentration and memory recall when taking a test.[3]  So remember that the next time you have an upcoming exam or a stressful meeting.  Eat a banana before you go in.  

Strawberries for Improved Vision

How to Stay Healthy with the Benefits of Strawberries
Credit: Opensource

Most problems involving your eyes can be traced back to a deficiency of certain nutrients. Lack of these protective nutrients allow free radicals to inflict damage on our optical nerves and overall degeneration of our vision.[1] Free radicals cause ailments in eyes such as dry eyes, macular degeneration and various eye infections.

Strawberries contain 3 very important nutrients for eye health: flavonoids, phenolic phytochemicals, and ellagic acid.  All three of these help fight off degenerative eye diseases as we age.[3]

Strawberries also contain potassium which is crucial to maintain the correct pressure within the eyeball.

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Strawberries Can Relieve Arthritis

Strawberries also contain a super antioxidant called anthocyanins. These compounds have the ability to inhibit COX-2 compounds. COX-2 is created in certain cells and they signal pain and inflammation in the body.  There was some promise a decade ago when several brands of COX-2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx and Celebrex, came on the market. However, Vioxx had to be withdrawn because the side effects were determined to be too dangerous.[1]

With their high anthocyanin content, strawberries do not have these dangerous side effects and can help relieve joint pain if consumed daily.

Healthy Snack Ideas with Strawberries

How to Stay Healthy with the Benefits of Strawberries
Credit: Opensource

If you are eating healthy on a budget, one of the easiest strawberry dessert recipes  is to slice one or two in half and add them to non-fat plain Greek Yogurt. They are also great in smoothies and liquefy easily.

One of my favorite smoothies is a strawberry, banana and almond milk mixture combined with ice cubes.

Additionally, there are delicious strawberry shortcake recipes that can be prepared in as little as an hour.

Unless you want to go to the grocery store every few days, I recommend buying a bag of frozen strawberries. They will last for weeks depending on how fast you use them. The point is, there is no rush to get them eaten before they spoil so you can have 2 a day and the bag will last for over a month.

One word of caution, and this applies to all frozen fruits. Just because they are frozen in a bag, do not assume that they have been thoroughly washed.

Strawberries have been shown to contain the some of the most trace amounts of pesticides of any fruit. In fact, it consistently appears on the list of the 12 most contaminated fruits or vegetable list.[4]

If possible, buy them organic, and then freeze them in a zip lock bag. Yes, they are more expensive, but at least you will have peace of mind.

If the stores in your area do not carry organic strawberries, consider a local farmer’s market in your area. As a last resort, buy the regular strawberries, but wash them thoroughly in a colander in the sink before eating them.  I typically rinse them off either way and sometimes soak them in water while scrubbing them in my hands, then rinsing again.

In fact, the same advice applies to apples, blueberries, cherries and anything that does not have a skin you peel such as a banana or a kiwi. Whenever I eat an apple, I wash it under running water with dish washing liquid, scrubbing it in my hands before rinsing it thoroughly.