Food EducationHealth

The Amazing Health Benefits Of Strawberries And The Science To Back It Up

Besides being a super sweet and tasty treat, “strawberries contain high levels of antioxidants, which have been correlated with a decreased risk of chronic disease.” (1) But the health benefits of strawberries don’t end there.

The impressive antioxidant and polyphenolic content of strawberries can make them an excellent choice for improving the immune system as well as preventing against various types of cancers (2), and for reducing signs of premature aging.

Strawberries have the scientific name ‘Fragaria’, but there are various suffixes of the different varieties, such as Fragaria Vesca for wild strawberry, and Fragaria Orientalis for Eastern Strawberries, among others.

In addition to the rich antioxidants, they have many other vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can help contribute to vibrant health. These include potassium, folate, manganese, fiber, and magnesium. They are also extremely high in vitamin C. Combined, “these health effects may be attributed to the synergistic effects of all the nutrients and phytochemicals in strawberries.” (3)

The continuing “emerging research provides substantial evidence to classify strawberries as a functional food with several preventive and therapeutic health benefits. Strawberries, a rich source of phytochemicals (ellagic acid, anthocyanins, quercetin, and catechin) and vitamins (ascorbic acid and folic acid), have been highly ranked among dietary sources of polyphenols and antioxidant capacity.” (3b)

“Individual compounds in strawberries have demonstrated ANTICANCER activity in several different experimental systems, blocking initiation of carcinogenesis, and suppressing progression and proliferation of tumors. Preliminary animal studies have indicated that diets rich in strawberries may also have the potential to provide benefits to the aging brain.” (4)

As a whole “daily consumption of strawberries resulted in a …significant increase in antioxidant capacity in a healthy population” (5, 6)  and have been “reported to be potent antioxidants and reduce cardiovascular risk factors, such as elevated blood pressure, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and inflammation” (7) and showed “significant improvement in the treatment and prevention of arterial thrombotic diseases.” (8)

It is best to buy and consume organic fruit and vegetables.  Organic strawberries taste better and studies show they are superior in health benefits.  “Organic strawberries had significantly higher total antioxidant activity (8.5% more), ascorbic acid (9.7% more), and total phenolics (10.5% more) than conventional berries” (9)  as well as, “organic strawberries have significantly longer survival times [shelf life] (less gray mold incidence) than conventional strawberries.” (10)

There are many studies that warn of the dangers of conventional and genetically modified produce since those farming techniques so often use surfactants / weed killers that contain ‘Glyphosate’.  (11, 12, 13) Even the World Health Organization has linked glyphosate as a probable cancer causer. (14)

Since it’s that time of year, go out and load up on some farm fresh strawberries, you’ll be glad you did.
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Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Phytonutrients in Strawberries

(* indicates small or trace amounts)

  • Anthocyanins
  • Flavonols
    • procyanidins
    • catechins
    • gallocatechins
    • epicatechins
    • kaempferol
    • quercetin
  • Hydroxy-benzoic acids
    • ellagic acid
    • gallic acid
    • vanillic acid*
    • salicylic acid
  • Hydroxy-cinnamic acids
    • cinnamic acid
    • coumaric acid
    • caffeic acid
    • ferulic acid
  • Tannins
    • ellagitannins
    • gallotannins
  • Stilbenes

Sources:

(1.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14582991
(2.) http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0524776
(3.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24345049
(3b.) (Ibid)
(4.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15077879
(5.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20136444
(6.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24406274
(7.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20797478
(8.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16175010
(9.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931688/
(10.) (Ibid)
(11.) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weed-whacking-herbicide-p/
(12.) http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416
(13.) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/
(14.) http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045%2815%2970134-8/abstract

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