They’re one of the sweetest, most popular berries around when summer is just around the corner. Their flavor seems to make everything brighter. And they’re not so bad for you, either. There are numerous health benefits of strawberries. Here are some of them, now.
Their taste and texture are amazing. Think about it: juicy, but firm, with that subtle crunch thanks to the seeds. And really, forget about chocolate and vanilla: strawberry is my favorite flavor for ice cream. Not to mention yogurt. And chocolate, too. So it really brings me joy to find out that they’re really healthy, too. Like I needed another excuse to fill my shopping basket with these bright, happy, red berries, always shaped like a heart.
There are more than 10 species out there and the flavors can be quite distinct between them. Yeah, strawberries come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiny, one-bite ones, to the giant, multiple-bites berries. But did you know that strawberries aren’t actually a fruit, because their seeds are on the outside? Neither did I. Every strawberry has an average of 200 seeds and are a member of the rose family.
When you get larger strawberries, fill them with cheese and raisins!
A long and winding history
I always like to find out the secret stories and origins of things I’ve enjoyed ever since childhood. Like, in this case, the fact that even Ancient Romans had a taste for the flavor and the health benefits of strawberries. They are native to many parts of the world and they have been crossbred to yield hundreds of varieties.
In the 18th century, a French engineer noticed that the strawberries in Peru and Chile were much larger than the ones found in Europe. And he brought back a sample to cultivate in his home country. That’s how he created a larger, juicier, sweeter hybrid, which we now know and consume with glee as the ‘modern garden strawberry’.
Sure, for a long while, strawberries were not accessible to everyone that wasn’t royalty, and it’s not like they’re super cheap to buy even now. But in olden times, it was a treat for newlyweds, who ate them with sour cream as a wedding breakfast, because they thought the strawberries were an aphrodisiac.
The main health benefits of strawberries
So now that we know a bit more about them (and I like to learn, too, with anything I write), let’s see what strawberries bring to the table in terms of nutrition. Plenty of items, as it turns out! They’re an excellent source of vitamins C and K, but they also load you up with plenty of fiber, manganese, potassium, and folic acid.
Their red color comes courtesy of the phytonutrients and flavonoids in them. They contain powerful antioxidants that protect your body from the dangers of free radicals and inflammation. People have noticed the health benefits of strawberries and have used the berries to help with digestion, the whitening of teeth, and skin irritations.
They help with regulating digestion, thanks to the fiber and fructose content in them. That means they also help with your blood sugar levels, which makes them a great snack for when cravings come knocking at your door. And the fiber also keeps you full and satisfied.
Did you know that you can also eat strawberry leaves raw or make tea with them? I really like this ‘minimum waste’ thing.
Chocolate-covered strawberries are an absolute classic dessert. Make these duo chocolate strawberries, for even more deliciousness.
Select the best strawberries
But if you want to make the most of your strawberries, you have to learn how to pick them out at the market. Choose the ones that are firm, without blemishes, plump, and make sure they have no mold on them. Their color should be deep red and shiny, with their green caps still attached. They won’t get riper after they’re picked, so make sure your strawberries don’t have a yellowish or greenish color.
If you do all that and it turns out that your strawberries are kind of dull and tasteless, here’s how you can fix that problem.
Then wash and make sure you don’t bruise them in the process. Rinsing them under cold water should do the trick. And always serve them at room temperature.