All about strawberries

Though I'm not a great fan of the infamous Strawberry Shortcake cartoons, I remembered many of my childhood friends were. But strawberries have always been one of my favourite fruits – bright red, juicy and sweet. They make excellent healthy snacks for any time of the day by dipping in sugar or simply eating them plain.

Strawberries are also chosen as perfect ingredients for salads, smoothies, bread, cakes and desserts, especially fondues. Due to their bright, appealing appearance, chefs also like to use them as decorations to enhance the presentation of dishes, making them more appetizing to the guests.

How did strawberry get its name?

It was believed that the word "strawberry" did not exist until 1538. During the harvest time, children would pick the fruits and string them on straws of grass to be sold, thus the fruit was named "strawberry".

In the olden days, strawberries originated from the wilderness of Europe and America. Wild strawberries are not big and you only get to eat the fruits once a year ie end of June or during summer. But now the berries we buy today are much bigger in size because they had been cross-pollinated by scientists over the years. The scientists crossbred the wild species with the Chilean strawberries which were so much bigger in size than the wild berries.

What are the nutritional properties in strawberries?

Strawberries are the only known fruit to have their seeds outside, with an average of 200 seeds per fruit. Strawberries leaves and roots can be used for medicinal purposes such as treating diarrhea, indigestion and gout. You'll find strawberries leaves in blended herbal teas. The fruit juice is also useful in soothing sunburns, cure skin blemishes and remove discolouration on the teeth.

Nutrients found in strawberries include vitamin A, C and B6, fiber, potassium, folate and various antioxidants and flavonoids. Your immune system needs these fighters to protect against diseases related to heart and cancers.

Strawberries surpass the super fruits like apples, oranges and bananas, in terms of providing the most nutrients. For example, comparing the Vitamin C level in 100g of strawberries and 100g of oranges, strawberries exceed oranges by 10mg. Best of all, they are low in calories and absolutely fat-free!

The Fighter against Heart Disease

Potassium, fiber and folate present in strawberries help combat heart disease. Studies have proved that potassium can significantly lower blood pressure, which may then reduce the risk of heart disease. Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, also lowers the risk of both cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Homocysteine, an independent risk factor for heart disease, can be reduced by folate.

The antioxidants also deter the oxidation of bad cholesterol. Oxidation speeds up the build-up of arteries-hardening plague, also known as arteriosclerosis, which endangers the heart. Besides as an antioxidant, the flavonoids have anti-inflammatory effect on arteries, meaning they prevent blood clotting, thereby reduces risk of stroke.

The Fighter against Cancer

Because strawberries are highly effective in fighting oxidation activity, they are ranked the top among 12 fruits that were analyzed. The credits go to the high levels of polyphenols and Vitamin C in strawberries.

Antioxidants protect your body cells from damage by carcinogens, the cancer-causing agents. They inhibit the carcinogens formation, block its initiation, as well as suppress the progression and spread of tumors. It was tested that strawberry extracts actually inhibits the growth of cancerous cells.

The Booster for Immune System

To have a long and healthy life, your immune system is the key. It is responsible for fighting infections and removing damaged or malfunctioning cells. But bad news is, your immune system ages with your age. So to maintain your immune system in tip-top condition, you need to load your body with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

As mentioned earlier, strawberries provide most of the nutrients beneficial to your immune system, and the body easily absorbs these nutrients.

Top Ten Skincare Food

In United States, strawberries are rated as one of the best foods for skin care and weight loss. Studies have shown that regular intake of strawberries can improve skin and hair conditions. They help you lose weight, due to its high fiber content and aspartic acid , so they are often included in a weight loss diet plan. The role of aspartic acid is to remove excess toxins from your body.

Selection and Storage

In the past, strawberries are not commonly found in supermarkets. But now with the help of technology, you can buy them any time of the year as they are flown in from Austrialia or United States.

To choose fresh ones, watch for bright, deep red fruits with glossy surfaces, without green or white hard tips. The caps and leaves should be fresh green. If you like sweet strawberries, go for the bright red, smaller ones. Large ones can be watery.

As strawberries do not ripen after they had been harvested, check to make sure the berries at the lower rows of the box are equally ripe as the ones on the top row. If there are red stains or liquid leaking from the box bottom, it means the berries had been on the shelf for too long and thus, not worth your money.

If you want your strawberries to stay fresh and last longer, do not wash them until you want to use them. Place them in a container, preferably in layers with paper towels in between the layers, and a dry paper towel at the bottom.

When you are ready to use them, wash them with the caps attached, under cool running water. The caps protect the strawberries from absorbing excessive water and turning soggy. After washing, you can remove the caps by slightly twisting them or cut with a fruit knife.

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About The Author, Laura Ng
Do you like the above article written by Laura Ng? Laura is passionate in providing quality nutritional facts andhealth tips, plus recommending 100% toxic-free vegan recipes to anyone who cares about his/her health. She has more quality health information to offer at