Strawberry, also called garden strawberry, is a hybrid species of the genus Fragaria and is widely cultivated as a fruit. Strawberries belong to the Rose family and are small, red fruits that have a distinctive flavour and sweet aroma.
Strawberries can be grown in raised beds, containers, or in the ground, and thus are a popular choice for home gardens and are relatively easy to grow in most climates. Though strawberries are native to temperate regions, today they are grown commercially in almost all parts of the world. For better yields, strawberries should be cultivated in well-draining soil with plenty of sunshine.
Strawberries can be eaten fresh, or they can be used in salads, pies, jams, smoothies, and more. They can also be frozen or dried for use in cooking and baking. Also, strawberries are rich in nutrients and are a store of numerous health benefits as well.
Nutrition Facts about Strawberry
Strawberry is low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol. Here are some nutritional facts about strawberries:
A serving of 8 strawberries (approx 150 grams) contains
- Calories: 50
- Water: 91%
- Protein: 1 gram
- Dietary fibre: 2.2 grams
- Total fat: 0.5 grams
- Saturated fat: 0 grams
- Trans fat: 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Sodium: 0 milligrams
- Total carbohydrates: 12 grams
- Sugar: 7 grams
Apart from that, strawberries are a source of many vitamins and minerals, namely:
- Vitamin C: Strawberries are a good source of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts immunity and skin health.
- Potassium: Strawberry contains potassium, which is needed for the regulation of blood pressure.
- Folate (Folic Acid or Vitamin B9): Strawberries contains folate which is important for tissue growth and maturation of Red Blood Cells (RBCs).
- Strawberries are also a good source of manganese and dietary fibre.
What better than a perfect combination of flavour, aroma, and nutrients? The list doesn’t stop here. The health benefits of strawberries are quite impressive as well.
Health Benefits of Strawberry
Strawberries are delicious and nutritious fruits with many potential health benefits. Some of them are:
1. Keep Heart Healthy
Heart disease is the most common cause of death today due to bad eating habits and low physical movement. Strawberries contain anti-oxidants, such as flavonoids and ellagitannins, and other compounds that may help to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. In addition, strawberries are low in calories and contain no cholesterol, which also helps to promote heart health.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Property
Strawberries contain compounds, such as quercetin and kaempferol, which have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. Strawberries are especially beneficial for people suffering from arthritis and asthma, as inflammation is often a contributing factor to these health conditions. Studies have found that people who eat strawberries regularly are less likely to have inflammation in the body.
3. Cancer Prevention
Cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. Strawberries have been shown to inhibit tumour formation in human liver cancer cells and also in animals with mouth cancer. This could be attributed to the nutrients in strawberries, including fibre, folate, vitamin C, ellagic acid, and flavonoids, that help in reducing the risk of cancer.
4. Improves Brain Function
Strawberries contain compounds, such as flavonoids and anthocyanins, that may help to improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Studies have shown that people who consume a diet rich in flavonoids, such as strawberries, have a lower risk of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
5. Improve Skin Resilience
Vitamin C is required for the production of collagen, which helps to improve skin resilience and elasticity. Eating foods rich in vitamin C may help to get healthier, younger skin. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and thus aid in younger, glowing skin. In a study, it was found that strawberry-based cosmetic treatments protected skin from harmful Ultraviolet-A radiations. Not only this, the anti-oxidants in strawberries may also help to prevent cataracts, which can lead to blindness in older age.
6. Aid in Weight Management
Maintaining a healthy weight is a prerequisite to a healthy body. Strawberries are naturally low in calories and also low in sodium and sugar. Also, the total carbohydrate content in strawberries is equivalent to less than half a slice of bread. This makes strawberries one of the best fruits to aid weight management, and the fibre in strawberries makes you feel fuller longer.
7. Boosts Immunity
Strawberries, being an excellent source of vitamin C, trigger immune-boosting antibodies, which ultimately enhance the body’s ability to fight infections. Strawberries are also found to fight allergies and asthma, and keep the body overall healthy and free from diseases.
Apart from the health benefits, strawberries have many culinary uses as well.
Culinary Uses of Strawberry
Strawberries are versatile fruits that can be used in a variety of culinary dishes.
1. Jams and Jellies
Strawberries can be used to make homemade jams and jellies. What you need to do, is simply mash the strawberries and combine them with sugar and pectin ( pectin is a soluble fibre used as a thickener in cooking and baking), and cook until it is thickened. Strawberry jam can be eaten as a bread topping or used as an ingredient for other dishes.
2. Baked Foods
Strawberries can be used in baked foods, including cakes, pies, muffins, and bread. Additionally, they can be chopped up and added to the batter or even used as a topping. Raw strawberries can be sliced to fill pies and cobblers. Crushed strawberries can be used on desserts to give them a refreshing and exotic look.
3. Sauces and Dips
Strawberries can be pureed and used as a sauce for meat and poultry dishes. Not only this, you can combine cream cheese, nuts, and other fruits with strawberries to create dessert-like fruit dips.
Smoothies made from strawberries are a delicious and healthy option for a refreshing drink. Strawberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and they add a sweet and fruity flavour to smoothies. There are many ideas to make them, feel free to get creative and add your own twist or ingredients to the smoothies!