The Awesome Health Benefits of Strawberries

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The Awesome Health Benefits of StrawberriesIf you are looking for a great way to add some flavor and color to a snack or meal, you simple cannot beat the impact of strawberries. They can be sliced and added to a salad, dropped into a yogurt for a splash of flavor, or even just simply enjoyed right out of the container.

The good news is that the Louisiana strawberry season is almost upon us, which means those shiny red beauties will soon be found in the produce section of your local grocery store. A trip to New Orleans will mean seeing new menu items appear, as the local chefs take the opportunity to create drinks, desserts, and main dishes that feature that delicious fruit.

There is a reason why strawberries are so beloved beyond just how great they taste. They are an excellent source of nutrition for one thing, and what follows are 5 reasons why strawberries are a healthy food choice.

Antioxidants – If you want a food that is high in antioxidants, it’s tough to beat strawberries. They even beat out super foods like spinach and broccoli in this category. The clue to the antioxidants level in strawberries is their bright red color, which is specifically caused by anthocyanins. Not only are the levels high, the impact on the body is almost immediate, as antioxidant levels will rise about a half hour after eating them.

Anti-inflammatory – Inflammation can be reduced, thanks to the antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries. This is particularly true in women, as those who eat at least 16 strawberries per day have lower levels of C-reactive protein, which shows the body’s inflammation levels. When those levels are kept low, the chances of having to deal with inflammatory issues such as cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis are reduced.

Cancer fighting – Ellagic acid is a compound that has proven cancer fighting qualities, and it is found in large amounts in strawberries. The cancers that it helps battle include bladder, skin, esophageal, and breast cancer. Ellagic acid, in combination with flavonoids rich in antioxidants, slow the spread of cancer cells by neutralizing the compounds in the body that are known to cause cancer.

Heart help – As well as helping prevent cancer, ellagic acid and flavonoids are also effective in improving blood lipids such as total and bad LDL cholesterol. Each strawberry contains about 250 mg of potassium, which can help keep bones strong and help battle high blood pressure.

Slimming – A single strawberry contains just 6 calories, making these delicious little red fruits a great way to reduce caloric intake. Rather than going for a bowl of ice cream, choose strawberries instead. Adding a little splash of no-calorie sweetener can deliver an extra punch of sweetness. If you want something a little different than just plain strawberries, blend them with some low-fat Greek yogurt, pour the contents into Popsicle molds, and freeze them. To add even more flavor to your frozen treat, try adding vanilla or fresh herbs into the mix.

Strawberries have the double benefit of tasting great and being great for your body. There is a little word of warning that has to be delivered here, and that is that many of the antioxidants and Vitamin C will be reduced if you don’t eat your strawberries within two days of buying them. If you wait even longer, expect even more losses in those areas.

If you know you aren’t going to eat all your strawberries within two days, it is recommended that you put them in the freezer. Before you do, wash them, pat them dry, and place them on a single layer on a cookie sheet before putting them in the freezer. If you want to keep that bright red flavor, sprinkle on a little lemon juice before freezing. One the strawberries are frozen, you can portion them out and place them in freezer bags where they will be good for up to a year.

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