Did you know that strawberries have more vitamin C and less calories by weight than oranges? Or that they are called the Queen of fruits?
Despite their name, strawberries are not technically a fruit or berry but a member of the rose family. Instead what we know as the “fruit” is part of the strawberry flower.
Wild strawberries were first consumed in the Stone Age and initially cultivated in Persia. Their seeds were transported from the East along the Silk Road to Europe.
The garden strawberry was developed in France in the 1750’s by cross breeding North American and Chilean varieties. They are now grown worldwide.
Queen of fruits - bite sized strawberries are full of surprising health benefits
What are the health benefits? Strawberries have been used throughout the ages to treat many medical conditions and to improve health. The whole plant, including the leaves, can be used.
The ancient Romans used strawberries medicinally to treat depression, kidney stones, fever, inflammation, sore throats and more.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners used strawberries to stop coughs, quench thirst, moisturise the skin and eliminate toxins. They were also used to boost immunity in the elderly or in those with poor constitution.
Strawberry leaves can be dried to make teas to improve digestive function
We now know that strawberries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols (micronutrients that comes from plants). The anthocyanins in strawberries improve low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation which improves cardiovascular disease risk profiles.
As well as vitamin C, they are an excellent natural source of manganese, folate, iodine, potassium, dietary fibre and magnesium.
The antioxidants, polypenols and nutrients in strawberries;
maintain and boost the immune system
help the body fight against cancers
improve skin quality and reduce the signs of premature ageing
improve eye care
maintain and improve brain function
maintain blood pressure
reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and gout.
Strawberries are high in nitrate that increases blood flow and oxygen to the muscles. This increases endurance and fat burning during exercise.
They are low FODMAP which is good for those with irritable bowel syndrome. The low glycemic index (GI) of strawberries reduces blood sugar spikes which makes them safe for people with diabetes.
The next time you bite into a strawberry you will be doing your body a favour. The heath benefits and taste make these bite sized fruit a gem.