Strawberries

Jul
2012
01

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Strawberries are the most popular berry! This low calorie berry at 55 calories per cup, is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients essential to optimal health.

About – Strawberries are a member of the rose family. There are more than 600 varieties of strawberries that differ in flavor, size and texture. Depending on cultivar their flavor can vary from quite sweet to rather tart. Wild strawberries are generally much smaller and more intense in flavor than the cultivated varieties.

The strawberry prominently figures in many traditional beliefs, superstitions and interesting stories. In France they were thought to be an aphrodisiac and a soup of them was served to newlyweds. In medieval times, they were served to bring peace and prosperity and medieval stone masons carved them into altars and pillars in churches and cathedrals to symbolize perfection and righteousness. Many ancient civilizations believed strawberries to be a cure for a multitude of physical afflictions and conditions.

Strawberries are the most popular berry fruit. They are widely grown in all temperate regions of the world, as well they are grown in every US state and every Canadian province. 94 percent of US households consume strawberries and the majority of children choose strawberries as their favorite fruit. The strawberry is the only fruit with its seeds on the outside and the average strawberry has 200 seeds. Strawberries are now available year-round, but are most delicious and abundant from April through July when in season.

Nutrition – Strawberries are low fat, low calorie and high in nutrition. They contain high amounts of the feel good B vitamins, including B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 and B9 (folic acid). The B vitamins also help the body to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Strawberries are highest in vitamin C, with more than some citrus fruits, and are rich in vitamin A (beta carotene) and E, both powerful antioxidants, and vitamin K. Strawberries are mineral rich and highest in potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron and iodine. They are high in fiber. Strawberries also contain significant levels of phytonutrients and what gives strawberries their nutritional all-star title is perhaps their richness in phenolic compounds, such as their flavonoids and ellagic acid. The rich supply of these substances gives strawberries their anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic properties. The majority of flavonoids in strawberries are anthocyanins, potent antioxidants that provide their red color. Their unique phenol content makes them a natural means of reducing inflammation and high blood pressure. Scientific studies show that consumption of antioxidant rich strawberries reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and neurological diseases.

 

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