Benefits of Strawberries

Strawberry is a very popular fruit because of its delicious flavor and its versatility as an ingredient. In addition, it also possesses health-giving properties. Like other berries, they are rich in phenols. Phenols are responsible for the fruit’s deep red color and are antioxidants that protect the cells and prevent oxygen damage to the body’s organs. Because of these properties, eating strawberries is like taking a combination of anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, heart-protective drugs, but without any harmful consequences.

As an anti-inflammatory, strawberries lessen the activity of an enzyme, cyclo-oxygenase or COX, which causes painful inflammation associated with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis and cancer. Aspirin, ibuprofen and COX inhibitors are medications that achieve the same result but they may cause intestinal bleeding. Strawberries, on the other hand, do not produce this side effect.

Studies have indicated that consuming strawberries regularly resulted in lower rates of cancer death among the elderly. People who eat strawberries are three times less likely to develop cancer than those who did not.

Other nutrients found in strawberries include vitamin C, manganese, fiber, iodine, potassium, folate, vitamin B5 and B6, vitamin K, magnesium and copper. Because of the nutrients present, they are recommended for sluggish liver, gout, rheumatism, constipation, hypertension, catarrh and skin cancer.

Selection and Storage

Strawberries are highly perishable so if you want to use fresh ones for your smoothie, purchase them just a few days before using. When buying strawberries, choose those which are plump, have a deep red color and are free of molds. Once picked, strawberries stop ripening so be sure to select the ripest ones you can find since these give the best taste and nutrition. Some find that medium-sized fruits are sweeter than the larger ones. If the berries are pre-packaged, they must not be packed too tight because they are very soft and can be crushed easily.

Before storing the fruits in the refrigerator, wash them thoroughly and discard the moldy ones. Place them in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. These will keep for a few days.

Freezing requires a few simple steps. The first step is to remove the stems and cap. After this, wash them thoroughly and drain them. Put the berries in a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or paper towel. Let them stand on their base and make sure that they do not touch each other. Put the cookie sheet, with the strawberries, in the freezer. When they have completely frozen through, remove them and place in plastic bags to store in the freezer. The fruits will keep up to six months.

When frozen properly, strawberries do not lose much of their nutritional value. However, when you thaw them for consumption, you will find that the color is a deeper red and the texture will be softer.

Next Article: Strawberry Smoothie Recipes