Strawberries are packed with antioxidants. Anthocyanin, a particular phenol abundant in strawberries, is responsible for the rich red color. The antioxidants in strawberries are efficiently absorbed into the body and have diverse health benefits.
Dozens of studies over the past 20 years have associated diets high in fruit and vegetables with reduced risk of cancer. Recently, researchers have been testing individual foods for their cancer-fighting ability.
Studies examining the freeze-dried strawberries and strawberry extracts indicate that strawberries can fight breast, cervical and esophageal cancers. The compounds – such as antioxidants and other phytonutrients – found in strawberries (and other fruit and vegetables) are credited with health-protecting effects. Strawberries are a rich source of these antioxidants (vitamin C in particularly), flavonoids, and ellagic acid.
According to the California Strawberry Commission, a serving of strawberries (about 8 strawberries) provides 160 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C. Further, vitamin C has been associated with reduced rates of stomach, cervical, breast and non-hormone-dependent cancers.
The flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, quercetin and kaempferol, exhibit antioxidant properties that have been proven beneficial in suppressing colon cancer cells, inhibiting prostate and breast cancer cancer cells, and inhibiting chemically-induced cancers of the lung, tongue, mouth, mammary and colon.
In addition, strawberries contain folate, a B vitamin that has been associated with reduced risk of several cancers as well as a decreased risk for birth defects, such as spina bifida.
The phenols in strawberries ﬁght against many inﬂammatory disorders including osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis. The phenols cause an inhibition of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX).
A new analysis of data from the Harvard Women's Health Study offers another potential link between strawberries and heart health. Researchers found that women with high strawberry consumption were more likely to also lead a healthy lifestyle.
The heart-health benefits of strawberries are attributed to their high levels of key nutrients. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that has been correlated with lower death rates from cardiovascular disease, lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease and reduced risk of angina. Further, supplementation with vitamin C has been shown to reduce serum levels of C-reactive protein (a substance in the body that indicates the presence of injury or inflammation).
Folate is another nutrient in promoting heart-health – lower folate concentrations have been associated with increased coronary disease risk and increased fatal coronary events. In addition to folate, strawberries are high in fiber and potassium, both associated with heart health benefits, such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure, respectively.
Current research suggests that eating just eight strawberries a day can improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of cancers and even improve cognitive function. Include strawberries in your diet as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The Archives of Opthalmology recently published a study in which three or more servings of strawberries (and other fruits) per day can decrease the possibility of contracting age-related macular degeneration by over one-third.
Manganese is important in bone building and maintaining proper bone structure. The potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium in strawberries are also important for bone health.
One cup of strawberries contains an incredible 136% of the RDA of vitamin C, an effective antioxidant that can help lower blood pressure, ensure a healthy immune system, and ward off the development of age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
One cup of strawberries contains 21% of manganese, an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inﬂammatory agent. By increasing the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), the enzyme responsible for protecting mitochonrdria exposed to oxygen, manganese not only helps to ﬁght the battle against free radicals and oxidative stress, but also lessens cellular inﬂammation - another cause of numerous cardiovascular diseases.
One cup of strawberries may only be 43 calories, but that cup contains over 13% of the RDA of dietary ﬁber. The ﬁber in strawberries helps keep digestion regular, lowers blood pressure and curbs overeating.