Benefits of Strawberries - The Strawberry as a Super Fruit
The Simple Strawberry is a Super Fruit!
The Best Strawberries
When trying to choose between conventially grown berries and organic, opt for the organic ones every time. They lack the pesticide residue found in typical commercially grown strawberries and have greater flavour.
Strawberries are Super Berries!
I love juicy, red, ripe strawberries, mmm! Some people are allergic (my cousin) but I'm one of those lucky ones that can eat berries to my heart's content with no ill effects. Not only is that great because they're yummy and I can pig out, but strawberries are being touted as a natural health and beauty aid, as well. Yes, my friends, the simple strawberry is a super fruit.
Before we get to the good stuff, I want to get the issue of strawberry as an allergy food out of the way. For those of us who are not allergic, it may not seem important but it sure is to the folks who are.
What is a Strawberry Allergy?
People are not actually allergic to the berry itself, but rather certain proteins contained in the fruit. These proteins, according to the WiseGeek website, are similar to the ones that cause birch pollen energy. If you are allergic, you want to steer clear of these delicious little berries and any products that contain them. You should be safe though, with artificial strawberry products as they lack the proteins responsible for the allergic reaction.
Symptoms of a Strawberry Allergy
Not everyone gets the same symptoms. Some (like my cousin) develop a rash. For others, a strawberry allergy is more severe and uncomfortable. Below is a list of various symptoms that can accompany a reaction.
- Red, itchy, puffy skin reaction
- Swelling of bronchial tubes, resulting in breathing difficulties
- Intestinal distress
- Burning lips
- Numbness and tingling of the mouth
There is some suggestion that the red in strawberries creates an issue, as white strawberries have shown not to cause allergic reactions. I can only take from that it is the proteins that give the berry its colour. I'm not a doctor but that's how it seems to me. I'm glad that is an alternative for people who are sensitive but I don't happen to think that white strawberries taste very good.
Not everyone will have all of these symptoms. If yours fall into any of the dangerous categories, please do not hesitate to get medical help.
Some Health Benefits of Strawberries
Okay, on with the show. Assuming that you do not have a strawberry allergy, this little miracle fruit has some health benefits above those we associate with it.
Vitamin C Levels
I don't know about you but I thought that with a fruit as small as a strawberry, I'd need a truckload to get any amount of vitamin C. Not so! In fact, it only takes one cup of strawberries to get 136% of your recommended daily amount. That's 15% more vitamin C than you get from eating an orange.
Burn Body Fat Faster
The high Vitamin C levels in strawberries assist the body in synthesizing the compound carnitine, which in turn helps speed up fat burn by 25%, according to a study done at Tempe's Arizona State University.
Researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing have concluded that the anthocyanins in strawberries stop the body from releasing inflammatory compounds that cause nerves to become over stimulated. Therefore, eat lots of strawberries to relieve muscle pain without irritating your stomach the way that aspirin or Ibuprofin can.
Thanks to the anthocyanins mentioned above, strawberries also contain healthifying antioxidants. As the benefits of anti oxidants are well known now, I won't go into them any more here. Suffice it to say that strawberry properties are incredible for maintaining a healthy body.
Strawberries as a Beauty Aid
The strawberry is not just good for your insides, it can help your outsides, too.
Reduce the Appearance of Freckles, Sun and Age Spots
You can fade your age spots caused by sun exposure and your freckles by half in only about four weeks' time. The Japanese did a study and came to the conclusion that regular strawberry snacking suppresses the output of melanin, which causes the pigmentation when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet light. The manganese in strawberries help your skin cells reproduce faster. That means that the coloured cells will be replaced by regular ones sooner than if you don't eat the berries.
Whiten Teeth and Prevent Tooth Decay
Thanks to scientists at Umea University in Sweden, we now know that strawberries help your body fight tooth decay by 33%. It's the fruit's xylitol that does it. Xylitol is an alcohol of sorts that destroys cavity causing bacteria. The strawberry is a two-in-one when it comes to your teeth. The malic acid found in the berrie can help dissolve surface stains, giving you a naturally whiter smile.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Yum!
Strawberry Chocolate Martini
Strawberry as a Pleasure Food
We've discussed the strawberry as a super health and beauty aid but how 'bout as a delicacy? There's no doubt that this fruit can span a gastronomic range from jam to martinis.
Many an enterprising cook has used fresh strawberries to make their own jams, jellies and preserves. If you're lucky enough to have the chance to get some of these tasty treats, take it. It was my intention to list two of my recipes for homemade strawberry jam here. However, until I move into a place where I can unpack my boxes, I have no idea where any of my recipes are. I'm sure that there are many hubs that already contain that information and I'll see if I can find some to link here.
How about chocolate covered strawberries? I have heard they are delectable but I've never had the pleasure of trying them. My friend, Dottie, wrote a hub about this decedant treat and I must say that I want to try them sometime before I die, because they look delicious.
Of course, let us not forget the chocolate covered strawberry martini. Now, I'm a big martini fan but something like this, I think a person should try at least once in their lives.
There are a million different ways to eat strawberries, especially when they are part of a recipe. I hope you'll investigate this little super fruit and add more of it to your health and beauty regime.
Enjoy your super strawberries!
The Old Firm's Strawberry Jam Recipe
Hubber The Old Firm has graciously consented to let me share his strawberry jam recipe with you. Thanks, TOF!
Take a quantity of strawberries.
Wash and hull them.
Mash them, - I give them them a quick zap in a food processor.
Measure the result and put in a preferably stainless steel pot with around five times or more the capacity of the strawberry pulp. bring to the boil and simmer for around ten minutes, stirring.
Add about the same quantity of sugar and crank up the heat.
Keep at a rolling boil stirring continuously to stop sticking. (Use a wooden spoon if you can.) The jam will froth up - hence the larger pot-, then settle back, and after a while the boiling sound will alter as it sets. (Takes me around ten minutes or less - plenty of heat.) Check for set and bottle in pre-heated sterilised jars.
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