Strawberries are the fifth most preferred fresh fruit in the United States due to their abundance of nutrients, reports the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS). This ripe treat has seen an increase in its domestic consumption rates due to high antioxidant levels, folate, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber content, all of which are proven health aids. Fresh strawberry consumption accounted for 7.17 lbs. per person in 2009 — an exponential increase from 1.73 lbs. in 1970 — says the USDA ERS. Even frozen strawberries were said to have averaged 1.54 lbs. per person in 2009, which highlights that whether fresh or frozen, Americans are consuming this super food as part of their staple diet.
Karlene Karst, registered dietician (R.D.) and published author, told Medical Daily, "They [strawberries] are a great source of Vitamin C, and may help boost your immune system." Karst believes that this fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and low-calorie fruit is a fantastic addition to any diet. With more than 600 varieties of this sweet fruit and 200 seeds in one single strawberry, there are fun, healthy uses to this super food. "Crushing them up with yogurt as a face mask to heal acne without scarring, and as a conditioner mixed with mayonnaise for your hair and scalp" are two beauty treatments that Tampa Bay health and wellness doctor, Dr. Jamie Brunet, M.D., of Bain Complete Wellness, shared with Medical Daily.
This nutrient-rich and delicious fruit is a valuable source of antioxidants like quercetin, kaempferol, chlorogenic acid, p-coumaric acid, ellagic acid, and vitamin C that provide protection from the exposure of free radicals, help the body against several diseases, and reduce levels of cholesterol, says The Cancer Cure Foundation (CCF). To ensure you receive all of the health benefits of strawberries to keep you looking and feeling younger, the Centers For Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) recommends 1.5-2.5 cups of fruit — eight large strawberries count as one cup. If you want to meet the daily fruit requirement, 12 to 20 strawberries per day would meet the CDC's required amount.
While you consume the succulent, sweet fruit, learn how vitamin C and other nutrients in strawberries can help you live longer.
Three or more servings of fruit per day can reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (ARM) — a chronic eye condition that causes vision loss — says Mayo Clinic. In a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers found that fruit intake was inversely associated with the risk of neovascular ARM. Participants who consumed more than 1.5 servings of fruit per day reduced their risk of ARM by over one-third. The vitamin C levels in strawberries help protect the eyes from free radicals from UV rays that can potentially damage the protein of the lens.
The antioxidant, ellagic acid, can help prevent wrinkles and repair skin damage caused by UV rays. In a study conducted at Hallym University in the Republic of Korea, researchers applied the antioxidant onto human skin cells in a lab and onto the skin of hairless mice that were previously exposed to high-intensity UV rays. The results of the study showed that in the human cells, ellagic acid reduced the destruction of collagen and inflammatory response — the causes of wrinkles — says Mayo Clinic. The mice in the study produced similar results — half of the mice were given daily topical applications of ellagic acid and the other half did not receive the antioxidant. The group that developed wrinkles and thickening of the skin did not receive ellagic acid, whereas the ones who showed less wrinkle formation were the ones who received the application of the antioxidant after being exposed to the same levels of UV rays.
Healthy Brain Activity
The polyphenol compounds found in strawberries have been linked to promoting proper brain functionality by protecting the central nervous system against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and dementia, says Medscape. In an article published by National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers suggest that the polyphenols promote healthy brain activity either through their ability to lower oxidative stress and inflammation or by directly altering the signaling involved in neuronal communication, among other things. The inventions of the polyphenols may protect against age-related issues in cognitive and motor function.
Strawberries can regulate blood pressure due to their potassium content of 18 milligrams, says Self. Blood pressure is regulated and high blood pressure can be reduced as potassium fights the effects of sodium that can be detrimental to the body. The antioxidants and phytochemicals in this fruit are linked to reducing inflammation in the joints, a risk factor for arthritis and heart disease. A study was published where strawberry intake was assessed with blood levels of C-reactive protein (CPR) — signals of inflammation in the body. The results of the study showed that those who consumed the most strawberries experienced lower bloods levels of CPR, which reduces risk for heart disease and stroke.
Healthy Cancer-Free Immune System
The high content of vitamin C found in strawberries has been linked to cancer prevention. The ellagic acid has anticancer properties that can kill cancer cell growth, says the American Cancer Society. Ellagic acid has been found to reduce the effect of estrogen in the growth of breast cancer cell tissue cultures.
Healthy Prenatal Development
The folic acid and vitamin C from strawberries aid in the brain development of the fetus during pregnancy. "Folic acid fights anemia during pregnancy," Brunet told Medical Daily. "Folic acid-like that found in strawberries should be part of pre-pregnancy diet to help prevent birth defects of the baby's brain and spinal cord." Folic acid is a vitamin that plays an important role in the production of red blood cells. Brunet recommends all women who are of child-bearing age to take folic acid everyday.