Strawberries: properties, nutritional values, benefits and contraindications
Typical red fruits of spring, strawberries are rich in vitamin C and compounds with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor action. Let’s find out all the benefits and nutritional properties of strawberry.
The strawberries are a fruit spring rich in property, sweet and sugary flavor that make them one of the favorite foods by children. The red fruit that we all know well in reality, 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 confirmed in the Neolithic. In this regard, it seems appropriate to mention the strawberries of Nemi, a small medieval village in the surroundings of Rome, which hosts every year a renowned festival of wild strawberries. In addition, there are many different species of cultivated strawberries, often created by the cross between a South American variety (granaria chiloensis) and an American variety (fragaria virginiana).
The strawberries, along with other berries belonging to the Rosaceae family or to the family of Ericaceae, such as cranberry, are considered among the richest food sources of bioactive compounds, the formidable antioxidant properties. A balanced and balanced diet, therefore, should never be deprived of these important foods. Let’s now discover all the properties of strawberries and the benefits that these fruits bring to our health.
Strawberries: characteristics and nutritional values
The strawberry is a very rich source of various nutritional compounds, especially sugars, vitamins, flavonoids and anthocyanins. These nutrients, acting synergistically, give the strawberry useful properties to promote health and prevent various pathologies.
The sugar content of strawberries is modest (more than 5 g per 100 g of food) and consequently also the content of calories: for this reason abundant consumption is not advisable 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, in particular, manganese stands out whose properties will be described in the following paragraph. 100 gr of strawberries contain 13% of the daily dose recommended by the guidelines.
Among the vitamins, the most represented is undoubtedly vitamin C: among the typically summer fruits, strawberries are those with a higher content of this vitamin with a content of 58 mg in 100 gr of product and a recommended daily intake of 85 mg for the adult woman and 105 mg for the adult man.
Strawberries: nutritional properties
In addition to manganese and vitamin C, which we mentioned in the previous paragraph as the mineral and vitamin most represented in strawberries, there are many others that deserve a mention.
As in many other fruits, in fact, also in strawberries we find good quantities of potassium (a fundamental mineral 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 gr 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 it is a factor to be taken into consideration, given the widespread iodine deficiency that still afflicts the world population today. We see below the properties of the main micronutrients, focusing on those most represented.
- Vitamin C: strawberries are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant substance essential for our immune system. Vitamin C is also involved in the synthesis of collagen and is important for the assimilation of iron by red blood cells;
- Manganese: mineral implicated in numerous enzymatic reactions and fundamental for the growth of bones and joints, for the synthesis of collagen and for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, steroids and some protein hormones. It is also a pourer of a fundamental enzyme for its antioxidant action: super oxide dismutase;
- Iodine: mineral essential for the functioning of the thyroid, an endocrine gland located at the base of the neck that produces iodine-containing hormones 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 in the spine.
Finally, the phenolic compounds present in strawberries are very numerous : among the flavonoids the most present are campferol and quercitin, among the phenolic acids, gallic acid, caffeic acid, coumarinic acid and ellagic acid and they are also present various anthocyanins, responsible for the typical color of these fruits. However, it should be noted that the total content of phenolic compounds decreases with the ripening of the fruits.
Strawberries: Health benefits
The strawberries are widely used in folk medicine, thanks to their 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. Finally, preparations containing strawberry leaf extract have anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The benefits of strawberry are due to the high content of phenolic compounds, which we talked about in the previous paragraph. We now describe in detail the main beneficial properties of these fruits on our health.
✓ Cardiovascular protection
The presence of antioxidant molecules, capable of reducing LDL oxidation, protects against the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
✓ Reduction of the risk of developing oncological pathologies
Certain compounds found in strawberries, such as quercine and ellegic acid, have been shown in vitro to have anti-cancer activity, inhibiting cell proliferation and therefore suppressing the growth of cancer cells in the case of colon, prostate and of the oral cavity.
✓ Neuro-protective effect
Gallic acid, one of the phenolic acids found 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 help resolve complications due to chronic and systemic inflammation. In addition, a diet rich in strawberries has been able to limit neuronal damage in some experiments conducted on mice. This effect is due to the anti-inflammatory action carried out by the phenolic compounds contained in strawberries
✓ Antioxidant property
Strawberries, as well as many berries, are among the richest fruits of antioxidant molecules available in nature. Their consumption is in fact recommended in order to prevent various chronic and degenerative pathologies since the phenolic compounds contained in strawberries act against oxidative stress by decreasing the formation of malondialdehyde (an indicator of lipid peroxidation), protecting against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and the cells of the blood from DNA damage.
✓ Treatment of metabolic syndrome
Several studies carried out on cellular and animal models have highlighted 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, strawberry extract has been shown to contain 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.
✓ Benefits for the teeth
A very effective “do it yourself” method involves rubbing strawberries on the teeth to obtain a whitening effect. Their non-smooth surface, in fact, could have a cleaning action on our teeth. In addition, strawberries contain xylitol, a substance that prevents the formation of plaque.
✓ Strawberries in herbal medicine
Finally, at the phytotherapy 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 store them
The natural strawberry harvest period begins in the spring and ends in August. We therefore recommend to consume this fruit especially during this period and to always choose organic products and possibly at km 0.
During the choice, it is advisable to favor the fruits with a uniform color and the stalk well attached to the end. In addition, to consume more nutrient-rich fruits, it is advisable to choose dark-colored strawberries.
The strawberries, during the warmer season, can be stored at room temperature not more than a day. So if you bought them to use them within a day then you don’t need to put them in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can store the strawberries for several days in the refrigerator by placing them in a food container.
Their sweet taste is well suited to the preparation of fresh and tasty desserts suitable for the warmer season: strawberry tiramisu or strawberry cheese cake. In addition, they can be used for the preparation of delicious milkshakes or drinks. Excellent results are obtained by combining strawberries with bananas and a vegetable drink of your choice (for example coconut milk).
Keep reading refrigerator thermostat.