These precious, ruby gems are not just juicy and sweet but come packed with nutrients. Strawberries are a good source of folate, potassium, manganese, fiber, and contain even more vitamin C than oranges.
- Folate plays many roles in the body, but it is especially important to keep our brains healthy. Folate also helps to protect our cells from damage and is also involved in flagging damaged cells so our immune system can get rid of them. This system helps to keep damaged cells or cancerous cells from growing and spreading. Additionally, adequate folate intake is absolutely vital if you become pregnant, as it is involved in early brain development of the fetus which occurs before you know you are pregnant. For this reason, much of our food supply has had folate added to ensure that most of the population receives adequate folate in their diets.
- Strawberries are also a rich source of potassium. Potassium has many important roles in the body, notably, it helps our brains talk to the rest of our bodies via our nervous system and it helps to maintain proper fluid balance.
- Manganese is essential to supporting our internal antioxidant systems and plays an important role in metabolism.
- And a diet rich in fiber helps to keep our immune system healthy and robust.
Strawberries also contain a phytochemical called ellagic acid, which has been suggested in recent research to possess cancer-fighting properties. Current research in cell studies is exploring the potential role ellagic acid might play in slowing tumor growth.
It is important to note that these effects on cancer cells have been shown only in cell studies and cannot be applied to humans. Much more research must be done before these results could possibly inform our dietary recommendations for humans. However, it is exciting to note the emerging research being done on the potential anti-cancer properties of plants, as it reminds us of the importance of including a variety of phytonutrient-rich plant foods in our diet to provide the best protection against cancer and other chronic illnesses. Strawberries are a delicious way to add plant variety and phytonutrients to your diet.
Though strawberries are tastiest when bought in seasonally in the late spring and early summer, they are available year-round in most places. When selecting strawberries, make sure they are plump, firm, and a deep, bright, glossy red all over. Berries that are pale and greenish have been picked before fully ripened, and won’t live up to their full taste potential. Any soft, dull bluish patches on their skins are indications the berries may be past their sell-by dates.
If it’s not strawberry season, frozen strawberries are a great substitute. Frozen strawberries are picked at their ripest and frozen quickly to retain their flavor and nutrient profile, making them a great standby to have on hand for all your strawberry cravings.
Strawberries are delightful all by themselves, but they also make a nutrient-rich addition to many desserts. Our simple Microwave Strawberry Compote or our springtime favorite, Strawberry & Rhubarb Compote, make the perfect topping for yogurt, oatmeal, or pancakes.
For a classic summertime treat, try our Strawberries With Vanilla Cream. And don’t forget, frozen strawberries are an excellent substitute for fresh, especially in recipes where the berries are cooked, or when the urge to whip up our Super Simple Gelato strikes.