– Post by Molly Morgan, Registered Dietitian (and our new Health Nut)
Did you know that May was National Strawberry Month? It’s hard to resist the bright beautiful color and delicious taste of a strawberry. As an added bonus, there are many health benefits of strawberries, too!
Strawberries are rich in the flavonoids elagic acid, anthocyanins, and kaempferol, which have been linked to a reduced risk for certain types of cancer and heart disease. Flavonoids are members of a group of substances nutrients found in many plants and plant-based foods and have also been shown to have an antioxidant effect in the body. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are present in the body and can damage cells.
In addition to flavonoids, strawberries provide vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin that our bodies can’t make on its own and must obtain from food. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen and plays a role in wound healing. Additionally, it helps to boost the immune system and many help prevent certain types of cancer and heart disease.
Last but not least, strawberries are loaded with fiber! Fiber helps to slow the digestion of food, balance blood sugar levels by slowing the release of sugars into the blood, and keep you full. When boosting your fiber intake, remember to increase the amount of water you drink to help your body adjust to the increased fiber!
Squeeze in a celebration of National Strawberry month with these delicious ways to add strawberries to your day:
At breakfast: Toss freeze dried strawberries into your favorite whole grain cereal or pack them along as a snack for your morning commute. As a side note, many parents of toddlers (including me) love sharing freeze dried strawberries with our kids because they’re nutritious, sweet, and melt in the mouth.
For a snack: Try single serving fruit leathers like natural strawberry fruit leather. Each has only 45 calories, they are sweetened with strawberry puree, and no artificial additives. And they are kid friendly!
For a mid-afternoon sweet tooth fix: Looking for a healthier way to satisfy your midafternoon sweet tooth? Grab a handful of chewy dried strawberries; each serving has 3 grams of belly filling fiber! And, if you prefer a sweet and salty snack, mix these sweet treats with your favorite nuts!
For an immune boost: Mix up a smoothie with your favorite yogurt, a splash of juice, a few ice cubes and two-tablespoons of organic strawberry powder! One serving of strawberry powder has 550% of the daily value of vitamin C (about 330 mg).
Check out our dried strawberries page for even more health benefits of strawberries. Tell us, how did you celebrate Strawberry Month?
Flavonoid definition: http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary?CdrID=330168
Vitamin C, fact sheet: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/