Strawberries are awesome. A big, ripe juicy strawberry ranks right up there as one of the most irresistible foods mother nature offers. Not only are they delicious and refreshing, their health benefits are spectacular. Here are nine superb benefits of eating strawberries on a regular basis.
1. Strawberries Help Keep You Slim
Strawberries are quite high in dietary fiber, with a typical serving containing 11 percent of your daily value. Fiber is like the Swiss army knife of nutrients; it plays an important role in a wide variety of functions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber helps normalize bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar, maintain bowel health and achieve a healthy weight. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states that fiber appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
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One of the most interesting effects of fiber is that it slows down digestion, which helps you feel full longer after you eat. Since a serving of strawberries is high in fiber but low in calories (48 per serving), it's a perfect snack for anyone looking to lose weight—or for anyone craving an afternoon delight that will hold them over until dinner.
2. Strawberries Fight Cancer
A 2011 study at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center discovered that consuming freeze-dried strawberry powder daily (equivalent to two ounces of actual strawberries) helped prevent pre-cancerous growths from worsening and in many cases improved their status.
The six-month study centered around participants who had esophageal pre-cancerous growths. Eighty percent of the participants saw their "lesions revert to a less dangerous state" by the conclusion of the study. This was likely due to the high amount of antioxidants in strawberries and to their incredible amount of vitamin C. A single serving of strawberries contains 144 percent of your daily value of vitamin C.
But strawberries' cancer-fighting properties don't end there. According to the American Institue of Cancer Research, dietary fiber "convincingly" lowers the risk of colorectal cancer, and fruits in general "probably" lower the risk of lung, stomach, mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus cancer.
3. Strawberries Prevent Heart Attacks
A study from the Harvard Medical School found that regularly eating strawberries and blueberries greatly reduces the risk of heart attack.
The 18-year study focused on young women and tracked how often they ate certain foods. After adjusting for various factors, researchers discovered that participants who ate the most strawberries and blueberries were 34 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack than participants who ate the least.
Also, there seemed to be no big difference between those who downed tons of strawberries and those who ate them on a fairly regular basis. Eating three or more serving of strawberries or blueberries a week seemed to be the magic number in terms of receiving benefits. "The people with heart benefits had three or more servings of a half a cup of blueberries or strawberries each week," said Dr. Eric Rimm, the study's lead researcher.
Why strawberries and blueberries? Probably due to their high concentration of anthocyanins, chemical compounds that have been found to make blood vessels more elastic and lower blood pressure.
4. Strawberries Increase Your Energy
Strawberries are a great source of simple carbohydrates, which can be turned into energy quickly. Thus, they make an excellent choice for an afternoon or pre-workout snack.
The fruit's high fiber content helps you feel satiated without feeling bogged down, which is exactly what you want from a snack when you're on the go.
Combine strawberries with a healthy fat source—such as pistachios or peanut butter—for a supercharged snack that will keep you going strong for a long time.
5. Strawberries Strengthen Your Vision
Perhaps the most impressive nutritional aspect of strawberries is their incredible vitamin C content—a single serving contains 144 percent of your daily value.
Vitamin C has great benefits for eye health (no pun intended). Vitamin C helps your vision by reducing the risk of cataracts, promoting healthy ocular blood vessels and slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
6. Strawberries Keep Your Blood Vessels Healthy
A new study conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder discovered that taking a vitamin C supplement daily could have big benefits in preventing vascular disease.
The researchers monitored the activity levels of ET-1 in obese participants. ET-1 is a vessel-constricting protein, and overweight and obese adults have elevated activity of ET-1. This makes their vessels more likely to constrict and increases their risk of vascular disease.
Exercise has long been known as one way to reduce ET-1 activity. However, researchers found that participants who took a daily vitamin C supplement (500 mg/day) reduced their vessel constriction as much as participants who began walking for exercise.
Although the study was small and exercise is certainly still the better overall option, the results bode well for vitamin C's ability to promote optimal blood vessel health.
7. Strawberries Help Repair Your Body
The vitamin C in strawberries is important for growing and repairing tissue all over the body. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin C helps heal wounds and maintain healthy bones and teeth. It also supports the production of collagen, which is needed to make cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin.
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Consuming vitamin C on a regular basis might have a beneficial effect in recovering from demanding exercise. A two-week study found that participants who consumed 400 mg of vitamin C daily (a serving of strawberries contains 90 mg) experienced improved muscle function and decreased muscle soreness following exercise.
8. Strawberries Lower Your Bad Cholesterol
A 2014 joint-study between Italian and Spanish universities discovered that strawberries have some powerful effects on cholesterol. A team of healthy volunteers consumed a little over a pound of strawberries (equivalent to about three servings) every day for a month to see how it affected their cholesterol. By the end of the month, participants' levels of bad cholesterol were significantly reduced.
9. Strawberries Keep Your Brain Young
A 2012 study at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that regularly consuming berries can help you fight off the mental decline that typically accompanies old age. The multi-decade study discovered that participants who regularly consumed berries delayed their memory decline by an average of two and a half years.
Researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University recently conducted a systematic review that looked at the impact berries have on brain health. They discovered that regularly consuming berries had multiple benefits, including reduced brain inflammation and improved cognition.