Want to know everything about strawberry benefits, nutrionals values and also its contraindications? You are in the right place!
Strawberry, typical spring red fruit, is rich in vitamin C and compounds with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumoral action. With this article, we will discover all strawberry benefits and nutritional properties.
What are strawberry benefits? It is rich in properties, with a sweet and sugary taste that makes it one of the foods preferred by children. Being part of the family of rosaceae, the plant is called fragaria vesca, a term that recalls the latin noun “fragrans”, that is, perfumed with which the Romans used to indicate these delicious fruits. The red fruit that we all know well actually, from a botanical point of view, is not a fruit but a container of many different fruits (the yellow seeds that we can see on the red surface of the strawberry itself).
The origin of the strawberry is very ancient: it is also present in the Bible, where it is described as an abundant and tasty spontaneous fruit, but its presence is also attested in the Neolithic. Strawberries seem to come from our continent: Europe. In fact, in many woods located on the Italian territory, it is possible to find, in the spring and summer months, wild strawberry.
Strawberries, together with other berries belonging to the family of rosaceae or to the family of ericaceae, such as blueberry, are considered among the richest food sources of bioactive compounds, with formidable antioxidant properties. A balanced diet, therefore, should never be deprived of these important foods.
Nutritional characteristics and values.
Strawberry is a very rich source of different nutrients, sugars, vitamins, flavonoids and anthocyanins. These nutrients, acting in a synergistic way, give the strawberry benefits useful to promote the state of health and prevent various diseases. Sugar content of strawberries is modest (more than 5 grams per 100 grams of food) and consequently also the calorie content: for this reason, an abundant consumption is not recommended in case of obesity or diabetes.
They also contain a good amount of fiber and an almost negligible amount of lipids. Finally, they are fruits rich in essential nutrients. Among the minerals, stands out the manganese whose properties will be described in the next paragraph. 100 g of strawberries contain 13% of the daily dose recommended by the guidelines. Among the vitamins, the most represented is definitely vitamin C.
Among typical summer fruits, strawberries are those with a higher content of this vitamin with a content of 58 mg in 100 g of product and a recommended daily intake of 85 mg for the adult woman and 105 mg for the adult man.
Nutritional information per 100g of strawberries.
Do you know what is inside 100g of strawberries? Water 90.95 g; kcal 32; Proteins 0.67 g; Fats 0.3 g; Carbohydrates 7.68 g; Fibre 2 g; Iron 0.41 mg; Manganese 0.3 mg; Potassium 153 mg; Phosphorus 24 mg; Vitamin C 58.8 mg; Glycemic index 25; Cholesterol 0 g.
In addition to manganese and vitamin C, which we mentioned in the previous paragraph as the most represented mineral and vitamin in strawberries, there are many others that deserve a mention. As in many other fruits, in fact, also in the strawberry we find good amounts of potassium (mineral fundamental for muscle contraction, regulation of blood pressure and maintenance of the hydro-saline system) and phosphorus (involved in energy metabolism and in the construction of many proteins).
100 grams of strawberries contain about 4% of the recommended daily dose of these two minerals. We also find a fair amount of iodine, comparable only to very few other fruits. We believe, in this regard, that this is a factor to be considered, given the widespread shortage of iodine which still afflicts the world’s population. Let’s see below the properties of the main micronutrients, focusing on those most represented.
Vitamin C: strawberries are rich in vitamin C, an essential antioxidant for our immune system. Vitamin C is also involved in collagen synthesis and is important for the absorption of iron by red blood cells;
Manganese: mineral implicated in numerous enzymatic reactions and essential for the growth of bones and joints, for the synthesis of collagen and for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, steroids and certain protein hormones. It is also a melter of an enzyme fundamental for its antioxidant action: super oxide dismutase;
Iodine: a fundamental mineral for thyroid function, an endocrine gland at the base of the neck that produces iodine-containing hormones that are essential for numerous metabolic processes and for the growth process;
Folate: essential vitamin for women in the first trimester of pregnancy, its deficiency slows down DNA synthesis and cell division, causes different forms of anemia and can create problems to the spine. Finally, many phenolic compounds are present in strawberries. Among the flavonoids the most present are campferol and quercitin, among the phenolic acids, gallic acid, caffeic acid, coumarin acid and ellagic acid and there are also several anthocyanins, responsible for the typical colour of these fruits. However, it should be stressed that the total content of phenolic compounds decreases with the ripening of the fruit.
Strawberry is widely used in popular medicine, due to its numerous properties. In particular, a cream produced with strawberries is used to treat wounds and various skin diseases, while strawberry juice is used in the case of inflammation of the nerves or lungs. Preparations containing the extract of strawberry leaves have anti-diabetes, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cardiovascular protection: The presence of antioxidant molecules, able to reduce the oxidation of LDL, protects against the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Reduction of the risk of developing oncological diseases: Some of the compounds present in strawberries, such as oak and ellagic acid, have been shown in vitro to have an anti-cancer activity cancer by inhibiting cell proliferation and thus suppressing the growth of cancer cells in cases of colon, prostate and oral tumours.
Neuro-protective effect: The gallic acid, one of the phenolic acids present in strawberries, is globally recognized for its antioxidant properties and for its neuroprotective action against oxidative stress and neurotoxicity.
Anti-inflammatory effect: Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of strawberries can contribute to solving complications due to chronic and systemic inflammation. In addition, a diet rich in strawberries has been able to limit neuronal damage in some experiments on mice. This effect is due to the anti-inflammatory action of phenolic compounds in strawberries
Antioxidant properties: Strawberries, as well as many forest fruits, are among the richest fruits of antioxidant molecules available in nature. Their consumption is in fact advised in order to be able to prevent various chronic and degenerative pathologies since the phenolic compounds contained in the strawberries act against the oxidative stress decreasing the formation of malondialdehydes (an indicator of lipid peroxidation), protecting against oxidation of LDL cholesterol and blood cells from damage to DNA.
Treatment of metabolic syndrome: Several studies performed on cell and animal models have shown the ability of a diet rich in strawberries, to regulate the level of blood glucose and inhibit the transport and cellular uptake of glucose. In addition, it has been shown that strawberry extract contains digestive enzymes that help improve the condition of hyperglycaemia and hypertension, typical of individuals with metabolic syndrome.
Draining and purifying action: Strawberries, as we have seen in the previous paragraphs, contain little sodium and a greater amount of potassium and vitamin C. They are therefore useful for their draining action, against water retention and can be used for the preparation of excellent herbal teas and drinks. A very effective “do it yourself” method involves rubbing strawberries on your teeth to obtain a whitening effect. Their non-smooth surface, in fact, could have a cleaning action on our teeth. Strawberries also contain xylitol, which prevents plaque formation.
Strawberries in herbal medicine: Finally, at the phytotherapeutic level, the roots and leaves of strawberries are used for their diuretic action in case of kidney stones or hyperuricemia and as natural astringents, thanks to their richness in tannins.
Strawberries: how to use and preserve them.
The natural strawberry picking period starts in spring and ends in August. We therefore recommend consuming this fruit especially during this period and to always choose organic products and possibly 0 km. During the choice it is advisable to favour the fruits with uniform colour and the petiole well attached to the extremity. In addition, to consume more nutrient-rich fruits, it is advisable to choose dark coloured strawberries.
Strawberries, during the hottest season, can be stored at room temperature no more than one day. So, if you bought them to use them in the space of a day then you do not need to store them in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can store strawberries in the refrigerator for several days, put them in a food container. Their sweet taste is well suited to the preparation of fresh and tasty desserts suitable for the warmest season: tiramisu with strawberries or cheesecake with strawberries. They can also be used for the preparation of delicious milkshakes or drinks. Excellent results are obtained by combining strawberries with bananas and a vegetable drink to taste (eg coconut milk).
Strawberries: contraindications and potential adverse effects.
There are no particular contraindications to moderate consumption of strawberries. However, it should be noted that strawberries can cause allergic reactions and are histamine-releasing foods. Therefore, those who suffer from histamine allergy should also limit their consumption. Strawberry allergy is noted with the appearance of red dots and itching skin. In rare cases, it can result in real hives and swelling of the mouth.