Strawberries are a popular fruit many love worldwide for their aroma, color, texture, and sweet flavor. They are often present in drinks, dishes, and salads, and are most delicious on their own.
Aside from their amazing flavor, strawberries can offer several health benefits too! They are also high in tons of nutrients.
Keep reading to find out all you need to know about strawberries.
Table of Contents
- History and Facts
- Varieties of Strawberries
- Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits
- Ways to Consume
- Potential Risks
- Frequently asked questions
History and Facts
The garden strawberry, or Fragaria x ananassa, comes from the genus Fragaria and is part of the Rosaceae (rose) family. It is a hybrid of two wild strawberry species from North America and Chile. They are typically bright red, however, this can sometimes vary.
These delectable berries were originally grown in France during the late 18th century. Before this time, strawberries could only be found in the wild.
Although we know they were grown in the 18th century, literature has found mention of strawberries dating back to the 14th century in ancient Roman literature. Additional history has found the strawberry prevalent in Italian, Flemish, German, and English art.
Not only were strawberries eaten as a delicious treat, but they were also used traditionally in medicine and were thought to treat depressive illnesses.
Did You Know?:Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
Varieties of Strawberries
If you don’t already know, there are different types of strawberries in the world. Other than garden strawberries, the main types include Everbearing, Day-neutral, and June-bearing strawberries.
World production of strawberries is an average of more than 9 million tons per year. The leading producer of strawberries is China, followed by the United States and then Turkey.
Fun Fact:The average strawberry contains around 200 seeds.
In general, strawberries are packed with tons of nutrients.
In one serving (100 grams) of strawberries, there are the following macronutrients (1):
- Calories: 36 calories (kcal)
- Protein: 0.64 grams (g)
- Fat: 0.22 grams (g)
- Carbohydrates: 7.6 grams (g)
- Fiber: 1.8 grams (g)
Low in calories, protein, and fat, strawberries contain mostly carbohydrates and fiber (2). Although most of the carbohydrates in strawberries come from sugars, they also contain a decent amount of fiber (3).
Most Americans do not get adequate fiber in their diets. Eating a diet rich in fiber can help increase the feeling of fullness, reduce blood sugar spikes, lower cholesterol, and promote gut health (4). Additionally, they are a low glycemic index food, which means eating them won’t typically spike your blood sugar very high. This can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
Summary:Strawberries are low in calories and contain a decent amount of fiber, which is beneficial for health in a variety of ways.
Vitamins and Minerals
One serving (100 grams) of strawberries contains the following vitamins and minerals (5):
- Calcium: 12 milligrams (mg)
- Magnesium: 12 milligrams (mg)
- Phosphorus: 20 milligrams (mg)
- Potassium: 89 milligrams (mg)
- Sodium: 10 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin C: 56 milligrams (mg)
- Folate: 8 micrograms (mcg)
- Choline: 5.7 milligrams (mg)
- Beta carotene: 7 micrograms (mcg)
- Lutein + Zeaxanthin: 22 micrograms (mcg)
- Vitamin K: 2.1 micrograms (mcg)
As you can see, strawberries are an excellent vitamin C, potassium, folate, and choline source (6). Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant necessary for immune health and promoting skin health. Furthermore, they are very rich in antioxidants and plant compounds, which have also been noted to have health benefits.
Folate, an important B vitamin, helps to maintain normal tissue growth and cell function. Potassium is a mineral that is involved in many processes and metabolic functions in the body, one of which is regulating blood pressure.
Summary:Strawberries contain several vitamins and minerals and are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and choline.
Several health benefits may occur when it comes to consuming strawberries.
May Support Heart Health
One of the biggest ways that strawberries benefit health is the fact that they may significantly support heart health. Heart disease is the number one chronic disease in the United States. While many factors can contribute to heart disease, diet is a top contender. Adding more nutrient-dense foods and strawberries can decrease your risk of heart disease. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential to maintain heart health and longevity.
Studies have found that berries have a direct relationship with improving heart health. Furthermore, people who consume berries, like strawberries, were found to have a lower risk of heart-related deaths.
An abundance of anthocyanin and quercetin is present in strawberries, two powerful anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Both of these flavonoids can lower the risk of heart attacks and even reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (7, 8). Adding more foods rich in anthocyanin and quercetin includes a range of health benefits far beyond a healthy heart as well. Anthocyanin is the reason strawberries have a red color, and that also protects the lining of the circulatory system.
Summary:Powerful antioxidants like anthocyanin and quercetin are present in strawberries. Both of these compounds have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and promote heart health overall.
Blood sugar regulation
Having consistently high blood sugar levels can lead to one of the most common chronic conditions in America that are also preventable, type 2 diabetes. Keeping blood sugar at a healthy range is crucial for many other reasons. High blood sugar levels can also lead to vision problems, a rapid heartbeat, and more (9, 10).
High in vitamin C, strawberries also contain healthy carbohydrates, and micronutrients (11). They are also low in sugar compared to many other fruits. That makes strawberries a great fruit option for those who already have type 2 diabetes as well. It can be helpful to consume strawberries for prevention purposes, too. This is also true for other fruits in the berry family such as blueberries and raspberries (12).
If you are looking to lower your blood sugar levels or even prevent diabetes in the future, consider adding low-glycemic fruits like strawberries or other berries into your diet more often (13).
Imbalances in blood sugar regulation and high-sugar diets may increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (14). Strawberries seem to slow down glucose digestion and reduce spikes in both glucose and insulin following a carb-rich meal, compared to a carb-rich meal without strawberries. Thus, strawberries may be particularly useful for preventing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (15).
Summary:Although strawberries are a fruit that contains sugar, they are lower in sugar compared to most fruits and can help regulate blood sugar. For this reason, they may be a good choice of food for people with type 2 diabetes.
Cancer is a complicated subject with many factors, but dietary concerns are a top priority to prevent cancer from occurring in the first place. When the body gets all the nutrients and minerals it requires, the risk of cancer is much lower. Fiber and vitamin C are essential nutrients to prevent cancer, and strawberries are a great source of both (16). There may be a few types of cancers that strawberries help prevent, like esophageal and colon cancer. Although more recent is necessary, several studies show there may be a promising link between strawberries and preventing colon cancer (17).
There may also be promising data to support the role of strawberry consumption and preventing esophageal cancer (18). Strawberries may even slow precancerous growth in the esophagus, according to some studies.
Understanding that a diet rich in vitamin C, fiber, and essential nutrients is a critical ingredient to preventing cancer helps put more into perspective (19).
Summary:Getting enough nutrients from fruit like strawberries may help prevent the risk of cancers like esophageal and colon cancer.
Ways to Consume
As far as diet is concerned, there are so many ways to add more strawberries in. A great bonus about strawberries is that they really can be eaten at any time of the day.
Check out the list below to see where you can start benefiting from the many health benefits of strawberries:
- Snack on raw strawberries plain
- Drizzle dark chocolate on them or dip them in yogurt
- Add with your favorite cheese like feta or goat cheese
- Incorporate with your favorite salad
- Cut up and add with other fruit to make fruit salad
- Mix in with your favorite breakfast yogurt or cereal
- Make into a fresh jam or jelly
- Blend into a smoothie on its own, with other berries or any fruit.
Fun Fact:Strawberries are known to be a symbol of purity and sensuality, as well as fertility and abundance.
In general, eating strawberries is part of an overall balanced diet. However, there are some things to keep in mind when consuming strawberries.
- Allergy: For most, strawberries are usually well tolerated, however, allergies have been reported by some people. This is typically more common in young children. For people who are sensitive to birch pollen or apples, the possibility of strawberry allergy increases due to something called a pollen-food allergy (20). Symptoms of allergy may include swelling in and around the mouth, throat, itching, tingling in the mouth, hives, headaches, and even breathing issues.
- May Cause Thyroid Interference: For people who have thyroid issues, strawberries may not be the best to partake in. Strawberries contain a compound called goitrogens, which can interfere with the function of the thyroid gland in those with existing thyroid problems. This can prevent the thyroid from functioning properly.
Summary:Strawberries are part of a balanced diet for most people. However, some people have allergies to strawberries which is important to be aware of. For people with thyroid issues, eating strawberries can cause issues as well.
Frequently asked questions
When can I find the most ripe strawberries?
You can typically find fresh strawberries in grocery stores year-round. However, strawberries’ primary season is usually June through early July for most of the country. This is an excellent time to find strawberries at farmer’s markets, too. Overall, they are only in season for a short time.
What is the best way to store strawberries?
Typically, strawberries should be kept dry in a cool, dark place. They will usually last longer in the fridge in the fruit drawer with minimal oxygen. They store best in a container with a sealed lid or with plastic wrap. They should not be washed until they are ready to be eaten.
Can I freeze my strawberries?
Definitely! They can be frozen until they are ready to be used. They can be frozen for up to a year when stored properly. To get their best flavor, it is best to use them within 6 months of freezing.
Did You Know?:The only fruit with seeds on the outside is strawberries.
Strawberries are a delicious low-calorie fruit that is a great source of several nutrients, including vitamins and antioxidants.
Many of the nutrients that strawberries contain have significant health benefits. Some of these health benefits include improved heart health, blood sugar regulation, and cancer prevention.
Furthermore, strawberries are an easy and excellent addition to a healthy diet.
Try picking up strawberries the next time you’re looking for a tasty fruit to enjoy.