It is summertime, which means we can have more fresh fruits and berries to pick from.
Since childhood, we have heard that eating fruit is very beneficial for our health. Strawberries, a favorite fruit in spring and summer thanks to their enchanting smell and taste, are a wonderful source of nutrients, including vitamin A, potassium, calcium, magnesium and folate. They are also among the fruits richest in vitamin C.
Nur Ecem Baydı Ozman, a nutrition and diet specialist at Acıbadem Kozyatağı Hospital, explained that strawberries should be eaten in moderation, like any fruit, and said, “10-12 medium-sized strawberries can be consumed per day, and this number of strawberries meets much more than half the daily vitamin C requirement.”
However, since they contain too much oxalate, they can cause kidney stones when consumed excessively. They can also lead to sand forming in the kidneys if not washed well.
So, what are the good aspects?
Here are 12 benefits of strawberries that you might not know.
Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins that support the immune system. Stating that strawberries are among the fruits richest in vitamin C, Ozman said that to benefit from the vitamin C content it is beneficial to eat strawberries fresh.
“If possible, consume strawberries without cooking or making jam. There is a lot of vitamin C loss if you let them remain in contact with air for too long and during cooking,” she said.
Strawberries are a fruit rich in folate, that is, vitamin B-9. Thanks to the folate they contain, they are effective in the production of healthy red blood cells. Folate deficiency can lead to anemia, and it also plays a role in the formation and regeneration of cells in the body. For women during their childbearing years, it is particularly important to consume enough folate daily.
The skin normally has a high concentration of vitamin C. Thanks to the stimulation of collagen synthesis, vitamin C gives the skin elasticity and provides a lively appearance, delaying the formation of wrinkles. It also protects the skin from damage from ultraviolet rays. Therefore, it is important to get enough vitamin C every day for healthy skin.
Thanks to vitamin C, anthocyanins and fibers, strawberries help to improve the lipid profile of the blood by lowering bad cholesterol LDL and triglyceride levels.
Flavonoids are the main group of phenolic compounds in strawberries, namely phytochemicals that have many health benefits due to their bioactive properties. These compounds fight free radicals and reduce the formation of oxidative stress, preventing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and helping to keep blood pressure at normal levels.
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, plays a role in the formation of the sheath covering nerve cells in the brain and in the communication between these cells. Communication between these cells is of great importance in strengthening mental functions such as memory, decision making and recall.
Strawberries can make you feel full thanks to their high water and pulp content.
“The glycemic index of strawberries, which is a measure of how quickly a food causes our blood sugar levels to rise, is not high. In this way, it contributes to the balance of blood sugar,” Ozman noted.
Smokers have lower levels of vitamin C in their blood. When reactive oxygen species, which are highly reactive chemical molecules formed due to the electron receptivity of molecular oxygen (O2), increase in the body, tissue damage is inevitable.
Reactive oxygen species serve as cell signaling molecules for normal biologic processes. However, the generation of reactive oxygen species can also provoke damage to multiple cellular organelles and processes, which can ultimately disrupt normal physiology. Therefore, smokers need antioxidants that neutralize reactive oxygen species more than nonsmokers. In this sense, thanks to their vitamin C content, strawberries help smokers compensate for vitamin C deficiency. They also help fight reactive oxygen species, thus reducing oxidative stress, which is defined as an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and the antioxidant capacity of the cell, and prevent tissue damage.
The high water and fiber content optimizes intestinal function and thus prevents constipation. In addition, they contribute to intestinal health by preventing bowel issues and also play a protective role against colon cancer with the antioxidant vitamins and compounds they contain.
Vitamin C helps keep gums strong and healthy, which also means stronger teeth. For this reason, people who consume insufficient amounts of vitamin C can develop gum problems. Strawberries, which are a good source of vitamin C, help maintain a healthy mouth.
Strawberries have been proven to help protect against cancer thanks to the anthocyanins they contains.
“Anthocyanins naturally found in red fruits have antioxidant properties and help reduce oxidative stress in the body. They also play a protective role against cancer with their anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic (protective against potentially harmful mutations in genes) effects,” Ozman said.
“You are likely to gravitate toward high-carb sugary foods because your blood sugar drops after staying hungry for some time,” Ozman said.
“Consuming 10-12 medium-sized strawberries and some walnuts in the afternoon will help you keep your blood sugar balanced and control your portions at the next meal.”
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