Strawberries: The Healthful Fruit
The tiny strawberry; not only is it sweet and nutritious, it’s a natural healer. During strawberry season we see boxes of these delectable red juicy berries everywhere we look. They grace the shelves in the produce section of supermarkets, farmers markets, and fruit stands throughout the countryside. They’re served up as deserts; strawberry pie, strawberry short cake, strawberry ice cream, and so many other mouthwatering treats. But how many of you actually knew this small modest berry was one of nature’s true naturopathic medicines. No brag-- just fact!
The therapeutic use of this unique berry is well documented throughout modern and not so modern history. In fact, their medicinal benefit goes back for as long as they have been eaten. In the USA, the American Indians were known to have used the leaves of the strawberry plant to relieve stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea. Some, as the notable French philosopher Bernard de Fontenelle, who lived until the ripe age of one-hundred, even attribute their long life to the to the hidden health benefits of the strawberry.
But What Gives This Little Red Fruit This Powerful Ability—This Reputation?
After years of study, scientist and doctors believe the health benefits derived can be attributed to the overall nutritional value of the Strawberry itself. It seems to be a virtual cornucopia of vitamins, minerals and flavonoids. They’re packed with vitamins C and K, and contain very favorable amounts of manganese, pantothenic acid, vitamin B1, iodine, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folic acid and biotin. They’re known as well for their high levels of the cancer fighting flavonoids (antioxidants) anthocyanins, kaempferol and quercetin. These antioxidants have been proven useful for their anti-neurodegenerative, anticancer, and anti-inflammatories properties. Antioxidants are just what the body needs to build a strong defense against the oxidative effect of certain chemicals and other harmful substances that may be the causative factors behind many cancers.
What Gives Strawberries Their Exceptional Cancer Fighting Power?
For one thing, not only do they contain important antioxidants, strawberries contain ellagic acid, as do many red fruits and berries. Numerous studies have shown ellagic acid to increase anti-cancer activity on cancer cells of the breast, prostrate, pancreas, skin, colon, and esophagus. Another cancer fighting knack of ellagic acid; it ‘binds’ with cancer causing molecules thus rendering them inert. One study shows it also able to reduce liver cancer cells.
Cardiovascular (Heart) health is of major concern to most of us, and rightly so. Heart disease kills almost 1 million Americans each year between the ages of 35 and 64. This amounts to 42% of the deaths in the USA each year. And 250,000 of these occur prior to reaching a hospital.
The Vitamin C strawberries contain not only works as a strong cancer fighter, but when combined with its heart healthy servings of potassium, magnesium, folate, antioxidants and dietary fiber, it can help reduce cholesterol levels thus reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention: Strawberries Antioxidant to The Forefront
Studies are finding that not only are the antioxidants contained within this marvelous fruit beneficial in assisting in the prevention and reversal of heart disease and cancer, but they may be valuable in assisting in the reversal of neuronal and behavioral aging. Because of their positive effect in anti-neurodegenerative disease processes, strawberries are being seen as very beneficial in both slowing the onset as well as reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
And last, but surely not least--Strawberries have a low Glycemic (GI) index value of 40, which is extremely important to diabetes when planning out meals. And for those weight conscious individuals out there, the average strawberry contains about 10 calories, so you can eat away with no worries of gaining weight
So whether you eat them on their own, or add these tasty little morsels into other dishes, strawberries should be on your daily menu. My advice, run right out and fill a shelf in your refrigerator with natures little red heart shaped healers. Your body will thank you for it.