STRAWBERRY HEALTH & NUTRITION INFORMATION
Strawberries have often been described as nutritional jewels and have been prized for their medicinal properties as far back as the Roman Empire.
Strawberries provide a range of nutritional benefits, but first and foremost, strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C. It may be a surprise to many but half a punnet of strawberries (125g) gives you 55mg vitamin C, more than a whole day's recommended intake of vitamin C, which is as much as from an orange. While we are aware of the health benefits of a diet rich in Vitamin C, certain studies also indicate that foods rich in Vitamin C may lower the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Folate (also known as folic acid) is also found in strawberries and half a punnet (125g) will provide almost 10 percent of your daily folate needs. A diet rich in folate is particularly important for pregnant women as it aids in the prevention of birth defects.
Strawberries contain several classes of phytochemicals - naturally occurring compounds found in plant foods. Phytochemicals have been shown to act as antioxidants, providing protection by neutralizing free radicals or substances in the body that can damage cells and lead to disease. Strawberries are an excellent source of ellagic acid, a phytochemical that helps combat carcinogens. Cooking does not destroy ellagic acid, so even strawberry tarts or jam may be beneficial.
They are a good source of flavonoids known as anthocyanins, another class of phytochemicals. These give strawberries their lovely red colour and act as antioxidants and have an anti-bacterial effect.
At 2 per cent fibre, strawberries are rich in two types of dietary fibre:
* the hard woody seeds in strawberries provide insoluble fibre, which helps prevent constipation and keeps you regular.
* strawberries themselves give us pectin and other soluble fibres that help to lower cholesterol.
Additional Health Benefits
Studies have indicated that strawberries (as part of a healthy low-fat diet) may help decrease blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Strawberries are also found to enhance memory function. Their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities suggest strawberries may help keep the kidneys and bladder in top health.
At 40, strawberries have a low GI, so will stabilise your blood sugar levels, important in diabetes. All this for few kilojoules (calories).
Nutritionists suggest we eat two serves of fruit each day. Make strawberries one of your 2 serves – after a meal or as a healthy snack. Fresh strawberries are "an abundance food" and the ideal 'anytime, everyday snack' for all ages. Enjoy them today!
Foodworks Nutrition analysis V4
Readers Digest, Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal, 1997.