Strawberry Fields Forever
As the seasons change, we always look forward to the fruits and veggies that come with the changes. But we’d be lying if we said strawberry season wasn’t our favorite!
In the Mahoning Valley, we are blessed with an abundance of local farms that produce some of the sweetest and juiciest strawberries you’ll ever sink your teeth into. When it comes to size, sweetness, and that eye-catching red color, locally grown strawberries are lightyears beyond anything you’ll find in a grocery store.
Of course, we’re beholden to the weather, so the start of strawberry season seems to change every year. But local farm markets are telling us that they expect their crop to be ready within the next week or so. Very exciting!
Health Benefits of Strawberries
So, what makes the strawberry so hotly sought after this time of year? Aside from the fact that it’s absolutely delicious, the strawberry is a powerfood. Here are just some of the health benefits to eating fresh strawberries:
Burn stored fat and lose weight
Strawberries get their bright, bold coloring from anthocyanins – naturally occurring pigments that exist in all tissues of higher plants. Without diving too deep into the science of it, eating foods rich in anthocyanins stimulates fat burning. According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a group of animals that was fed a high-fat diet along with anthocyanins gain 24% less weight than animal eating a high-fat diet without the added anthocyanins.
The organization also reported that anthocyanins help boost short-term memory by 100% in eight weeks.
Also, eating strawberries is great for any weight-loss program, because the fruit contains a compound nitrate that promotes blood flow and oxygen in our body.
Low calories, high fiber
Strawberries contain about 54 calories per cup, and about 2 g of fiber per serving. Fiber is critical for healthy digestion and fighting type 2 diabetes by slowing the absorption of sugars/glucose in the blood.
Strawberries have been found to lower your blood’s levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) – a substance produced by the liver that increases inflammation in your body. In a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week were 14% less likely to have elevated levels of CRP.
Lower cardiovascular disease
The flavonoids that give strawberries their color and flavor also help lower your risk for heart disease. Strawberries also contain about 134 mg of potassium per serving, which can help regulate blood pressure and may even help lower high blood pressure by countering the negative effects of sodium.
Immunity-boosting, antioxidant super food
One serving of strawberries (about half a cup) contains about 51.5 mg of Vitamin C, which is about half of your daily requirement. And the antioxidant power of the fruit is ready to work in your blood after eating it for just a few weeks.
Good for healthy eyes too
Vitamin C also helps protect our eyes from exposure to free-radicals from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunshine (which can damage the protein in an eye’s lens), and it plays an important role in strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina. While high doses of Vitamin C obtained from supplements have been shown to increase the risk of cataracts in women over age 65, that doesn’t include Vitamin C naturally derived from fruits and veggies.
Strawberries are loaded with biotin, which is an important element for strong hair and nails. They also contain lots of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that protects the elastic fibers in our skin to prevent sagging.
Ellagic acid has also been shown to yield anti-cancer properties, like suppressing cancer cell growth. Strawberries also contain antioxidants like lutein and zeathancins, which help neutralize the potentially negative effects that free-radicals can have on our cells.
On the Menu
Need a strawberry fix? Try our Strawberry and Goat Cheese Spinach salad, part of our Summer Salads menu!