THE STRAWBERRY – DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS & POWER-PACKED
Welcome back to WHAT’S ON THE #MENU MONDAY everyone. It’s May — and here in Southern California that means we’re gearing up for the 33rd Annual Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, California. From May 21 through May 22, an entire weekend will be devoted to strawberries – and everything strawberry – from strawberry pies and cakes, to strawberry shakes and crepes, to strawberry salads, strawberry nachos, strawberry torts and bowls of fried strawberries and strawberry ice cream to top it all off!
Now, the strawberry is one of the most popular fruits in the world. It’s beautiful to look at, it’s juicy and sweet and it tastes great in just about any recipe. But, did you know that the strawberry also is one of the most nutritious foods we can eat? Indeed, it is! And, here are SIX BIG BENEFITS we gain from including this gorgeous fruit in our diet every day:
- CANCER PROTECTION: Strawberries contain antioxidants. They are packed with phenols, specifically anthocyanin, which gives the berry its rich red color. When foods packed with anthocyanin are consumed the body’s levels of uric acid increase, which in turn serves as an antioxidant agent. Phenols also fight inflammation and inhibit the enzyme cyclooxygenase – or COX for short. In addition, one fifth of each cup of strawberries is 21% manganese – a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and oxidative stress and reduces cellular inflammation. This combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents is known to help prevent us from many forms of cancer. Now let’s add the strawberry’s high concentration of Vitamin C and Ellagic acid both of which help prevent the development of cancer cells and inhibit their growth. Finally, with the folate, flavonoids and kaempferol also found in a strawberry, we have a defense against cancer that is not only effective but delicious as well.
- HEALTHY EYES: The Vitamin C in a strawberry also does wonders for our eyes. It protects the eye from harmful UV rays and increases the strength of the lens, the cornea and the retina of the eye. And, with a whopping 136% of the RDA of Vitamin C in one cup of strawberries, this fruit also can help prevent the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- STRONG BONES: The manganese in strawberries is not only a powerful antioxidant, but an essential nutrient for protecting our bones. It helps build our bones and maintains proper bone structure. In addition, the potassium, Vitamin K and magnesium found in the berry keep our bones strong and resilient to fractures.
- WEIGHT LOSS: Strawberries contain over 13% of our RDA of dietary fiber in every cup. And, fiber is critical to our overall digestive health as it helps us maintain regularity. The Ellagic acid and anthocyanins in the berry slow our digestive process and make us feel full so we’re less likely to over-eat. Our blood sugar is stabilized, our metabolism increases and our body fat decreases. And, with only 43 calories per cup, strawberries are a delicious and nutritious way to maintain a healthy weight.
- HEART PROTECTION: The flavonoids and phytonutrients in a strawberry are very effective in reducing cholesterol. The phenolic agents also help reduce our cholesterol and improve the function of our blood vessels. And, the potassium found in the strawberry helps prevent stroke and heart attack – all of which make this fruit a favorite of heart-health conscious patients and doctors alike.
- BEAUTY TREATMENT: From soaps, to lotions, to hair products the strawberry has definitely found its way into the world of beauty and cosmetics. And, with good reason. The Vitamin C content of the berry supports the regeneration of skin cells and the elasticity of the skin. Scars, lines and wrinkles all can be improved by consuming strawberries on a daily basis. And this potent Vitamin C improves the look and texture of our skin leaving it with a healthy glow. Moreover, strawberries are great for our smile. The acids help remove stains from our teeth and the manganese not only makes our bones stronger but our teeth as well.
So, enjoy the strawberries this summer. They’re a wonderful source of vitamins, nutrients and fiber. They provide our bodies with great health benefits. They taste great! And, they can make us feel and look more beautiful every day 🙂
Thanks again for joining me everyone. Until next time stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .