Strawberries (scientifically known as Fragaria ananassa) are not only sweet and delicious, but are also a low-sugar, high-nutrient berry that provides an impressive list of health benefits. Though there were wild and other previous cultivated varieties, this variety of the bright red berries originated in Europe in the 18th century. Strawberries are an excellent source of manganese, vitamin C, and antioxidants (among other micronutrients). And you’re not alone if strawberries conjure up an idyllic and peaceful vision of strawberry fields, forever.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top health benefits provided by strawberries, how to incorporate them into your diet, and a brief history. Last but certainly not least, we’ll end with a recipe for an all-time favorite: strawberry shortcake.

Check out these fun facts you probably don’t know about strawberries [1]:

  • Strawberries are the only fruit in existence who wear their seeds on the outside, which actually means it’s not a true berry (and why you get seeds instantly stuck in your teeth).
  • Strawberries are in the same family as roses.
  • The average American eats three-and-a-half pounds of fresh strawberries each year.
  • Strawberries have been thought to have medicinal powers throughout history.
  • The French believe strawberries to be an aphrodisiac.

History of Strawberries

Wild strawberries have been eaten throughout history by people around the world, but commercial production didn’t start until much later. In the 1300’s, strawberries were being cultivated in Europe as transplants grown in gardens, instead of just in the wild. Around the end of the 1700s and early 1800s is when gardeners in England began to grow new strawberry varieties, bringing the number of strawberries types close to thirty.

Many hybridizations occurred to bring about what we now commonly eat when we enjoy strawberries in the United States, but the first American strawberry was known as “Hovey.”

If you are interested in learning more, check out the book The Strawberry: History, Breeding and Physiology by George M. Darrow.

Nutrition Facts

Like most fruit, strawberries are mostly made up of carbohydrates, but strawberries are actually far lower in sugar than many fruits, and other berries. Here is the nutritional breakdown for 1 cup of halved strawberries (

  • Calories: 49
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 11.7 grams
  • Sugar: 7.4 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Water: 91% water content

wberries glycemic index (GI) is 40, which is in the middle when compared to other Also, 26 percent of the carbohydrate count of strawberries is fiber, meaning that the net digestible-carb content is only about 6 grams per 100 gram serving. Fiber is important to promote proper digestive health and weight loss (but more on this below).

Health Benefits

Now, let’s learn more about some of the top health benefits provided by strawberries and why they should definitely be part of your diet.

Multiple studies have found links between berries and improved heart health. For example, one study of people with multiple risk factors of heart disease found that berries increased their HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, lowered their blood pressure, and improved their blood platelet function. [4]

Strawberries in particular provide certain antioxidants that help decrease oxidative stress caused by free radicals and improve vascular function; both are key components of promoting cardiovascular health.

Prevent Cancer

Strawberries (along with other types of berries) have been shown to aid in the prevention of certain types of cancers due (mainly) to their antioxidant content and ability to lessen inflammation and oxidative stress. [5]

Regulate Blood Sugar

While eating fruits alone (without any protein or fat) will usually lead to a significant rise in blood sugar (which can be especially problematic for diabetics or those with other metabolic diseases), strawberries can actually slow glucose digestion. Studies show that blood sugar levels spiked less after a carbohydrate-rich meal that included strawberries, compared to one that did not. [6]

Packed Full of Micronutrients and Unique Plant Compounds

Strawberries are very high in vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and folate, all of which offer their own important health benefits. Aside from these more well-known vitamins and minerals, strawberries are also rich in plant compounds such as ellagic acid, procyanidins and ellagitannins, which are thought to also be responsible for many of strawberry’s potent health benefits. [

Ways to Use Strawberries

The many ways to use strawberries are seemingly endless! Here are some of our favorites:

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

This is one of the simplest and healthiest desserts around, and the whole family is sure to love it. Melt dark chocolate (preferably 70 percent or higher) in a double boiler (or just place the chocolate in a small saucepan inside of a larger saucepan that has water, to avoid burning). Then dip your strawberries in the chocolate and lay them on parchment paper to allow the chocolate to set. You can also place them in the refrigerator.

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Strawberries and bananas are a serious match made in heaven. Between the creamy sweetness of bananas and the satisfying aroma and unique taste of strawberries, there’s no way this won’t become an immediate favorite in your household. Simply blend together a handful of strawberries, one fresh or frozen banana, milk (regular, almond, or coconut), and throw in a tablespoon of ground flax seeds for extra healthy fats and fiber. Add ice as desired for consistency, and enjoy!

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

There are many ways to make this tasty treat, and some are far healthier than others. Check out this recipe for a grain-free, whole-foods version that includes pasture-raised eggs (if you can find them), lemon juice, cinnamon, and coconut sugar.

Spice Up a Cocktail

To make your cocktail a little bit more exciting, drop a strawberry into it! This is especially mouth-watering with champagne or a sparkling white wine.

Add Them to Your Favorite Salad

Sliced or halved strawberries make a perfect addition to your favorite salad, especially in the summertime. Try a spinach salad with walnuts, strawberries, and a bit of goat cheese with an easy olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. This salad goes well alongside a fish or meat dish and can be prepared in just minutes.

Make a DIY Face Mask

Thanks to strawberry’s rich antioxidant content, many people swear by it as a skin product. To make a quick and easy face mask that will leave your skin radiant, mix together two or three mashed strawberries with a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice. Slather this mixture on your face (pull your hair back first!) and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes, then gently remove with warm water.

What About Strawberry Allergies?

It is true that some people are allergic to strawberries, especially young children. As with all allergies, we react to a protein, and strawberries contain a protein that could cause allergic symptoms in people who have pollen-food allergies, which include reactions to apples and birch pollen. [8]

Symptoms could include itching in the mouth, headaches, hives, swelling of the throat and tongue, or even breathing problems with a severe reaction. If your child is under the age of one, discuss when to introduce strawberries with your pediatrician.

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Strawberry Shortcake

Who doesn’t love strawberry shortcake? Try preparing it like this for a slightly healthier version that is equally delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs (pasture raised if possible)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey or grade b maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 5 cups sliced strawberries
  • Whip cream for topping (make it yourself as an added bonus)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking dish.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl, then add your eggs, honey, oil, vanilla, and milk. Stir everything together thoroughly.
  3. Pour this batter into your baking pan and place it in the oven for around 25 minutes (check for doneness starting at 20 minutes).
  4. When the cake is done, allow it to cool and top it with the sliced strawberries and whipped cream. Enjoy!

With the many ways to incorporate strawberries into your diet, you can’t go wrong. This delicious fruit is low in sugar and rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and it provides many health benefits. Enjoy them in a smoothie, salad, or dipped in dark chocolate. And, of course, eating them by themselves also works perfectly.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here