Strawberry nutrition is impressive in and of itself, but even without all the super sweet health benefits, America loves strawberries, and with good reason: they’re tasty and always in season.
In fact, strawberries grow on every continent on earth except Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. For places where the fruits don’t grow year-round, new technology has made strawberry transport and preservation state of the art.
Egyptian researchers are studying ways to preserve fruits and vegetables using gamma irradiation. They used strawberries to test this method, and the results were published in the Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences.
“This study showed that strawberries treated with gamma rays had higher antioxidant activity and less decay than control fruits,” reported Maraei et al in the 2017 paper. “The results suggest that gamma rays treatments may be a useful non-chemical way for maintaining strawberry fruit quality and extending their postharvest life.”
But before you break out in your very own rendition of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” remember one thing:
Always, always, always wash strawberries thoroughly before eating them.
Strawberries topped the 2018 list of “The Dirty Dozen” in produce. EWG Shopper’s Guide publishes the annual list of produce tainted with pesticides based on U.S. Department of Agriculture analyses. The analyses showed that strawberries grown organically are much cleaner than strawberries grown conventionally.
With that simple but important disclaimer out of the way, read on to learn all about strawberry health benefits.
Strawberry Nutrition: Cute and Healthy
Strawberries are as good for you as they are cute. It’s no wonder kids like them.
Their bright red color means they’re loaded with antioxidants that fight off disease.
The strawberry’s cute little shape comes in the form of fiber, which is great for the digestive system and helps to protect against cancer.
There are plenty of vitamins in strawberries, including vitamins A, E, K, and C. Strawberries also are loaded with folate, a B vitamin especially important to women of childbearing age.
“The Romans prized wild strawberries for their medicinal properties,” according to University of Illinois Extension. “Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more vitamin C than citrus fruit.”
The vitamin C in strawberries is what the fruit probably is best known for. Just one serving of eight strawberries and you’ve had all the vitamin C you need for the day per USDA guidelines (and an extra 10%, too), according to the California Strawberries Council.
You can have that strawberry nutrition boost and give your heart a dose of healthy anytime by trying our delicious Luscious Red Shake.
Strawberry Health Benefits
The health benefits of strawberries are bountiful, from the fiber in them that’s proven to help prevent colon cancer to all the disease-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids they contain.
Antioxidants and flavonoids fight disease. “Once absorbed, antioxidants fight free radical compounds that can cause chronic illnesses,” according to the California Strawberry Council. “In a recent study, strawberries ranked second among the top ten fruits in antioxidant capacity (TAC), which is one reason why they may help prevent cancer and heart disease.”
The fiber in strawberries fights cancer and is good for cardiovascular health. “Dietary fiber has well-known health benefits, such as lowering blood cholesterol and promoting a healthy digestive system,” the California Strawberry Council reports.
The science behind the strawberry’s cancer-fighting claims is real. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, strawberries are packed with ellagic acid.
“In laboratory studies, this phytochemical has shown the ability to prevent cancers of the skin, bladder, lung, esophagus, and breast,” AICR reports. “Research suggests that ellagic acid seems to utilize several different cancer-fighting methods at once: It acts as an antioxidant, it helps the body deactivate specific carcinogens, and it helps slow the reproduction of cancer cells.”
Strawberries also are packed with compounds called flavonoids, which gives them their rich color. Flavonoids “are the focus of intense study due to their antioxidant, anticancer, and antimutagenic properties,” according to the California Strawberry Council.
Folate in strawberries may help prevent birth defects. It has long been known that folate helps prevent neural tube birth defects, which is why the National Institutes of Health and Institute of Medicine recommend folic acid supplementation during pregnancy.
An extensive, well-designed 2010 study showed just how much better organic strawberries are for you than conventionally grown strawberries.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, compared the nutritional analyses of strawberries grown among 13 pairs of standard and organic commercial ecosystems. The study also looked at soil samples.
“Organic strawberries had significantly higher total antioxidant activity (8.5% more), ascorbic acid (9.7% more), and total phenolics (10.5% more) than conventional berries,” the researchers concluded, “but less phosphorus (13.6% less) and potassium (9.1% less).”
The researchers note that less phosphorus in the diet increasingly is being looked upon as desirable, and that strawberries are not high in potassium anyway.
As for soil samples, “We also found the organically farmed soils to have more total carbon and nitrogen, greater microbial biomass and activity, and higher concentrations of micronutrients.”
A 2006 study published in the journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that extract from organically grown strawberries slowed certain breast and colon cancer growth better than conventional strawberry extract.
At the end of the day, even frozen strawberries are good for you.
Try substituting delicious strawberries for that processed candy you get out of the vending machine at work. It won’t be a sacrifice—you’ll be treating yourself—and getting healthier in the process.