Jumat, 15 Oktober 2010

Nutrients Found in Strawberries

In Asian countries, people call strawberry "The Queen of Fruits" because it's packed with so many health goodness - nutrients essential to our good health. Bright red, juicy and sweet, you can eat strawberries as healthy snacks all day long.

They're also chosen as perfect ingredients for salads, smoothies, bread, cakes and desserts, especially fondues. Due to their bright, appealing appearance, chefs love to use them as decorations to enhance the presentation of dishes, making them look 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 (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 wild species are crossbred with the Chilean strawberries which were much bigger in size than the wild berries.

Nutritional Values in Strawberries

Strawberries are the only known fruit to carry their seeds outside, with an average of 200 seeds per fruit. The leaves and roots of strawberries are claimed for their medicinal benefits in terms of easing diarrhea, digestive upsets and gout. You'll find strawberries leaves in blended herbal teas. The fruit juice is also used to treat sunburn, skin blemishes and discolored 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 you against diseases related to heart and cancers.

Compared to fruits like apples, oranges or bananas, they score highest in most of the 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're low in calories and absolutely fat-free!

Fighter against Heart Disease and Stroke

Potassium, fiber and folate present in strawberries help to combat heart disease. Studies have proven 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 plaque (arteriosclerosis), which endangers the heart. Besides as an antioxidant, flavonoids do bear anti-inflammatory effect on arteries, meaning, they prevent blood clotting, thereby reduces risk of stroke.

Fighter against Cancer

Because strawberries are highly effective in fighting oxidative activity, they're ranked 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 development of carcinogens and delay the tumors from growing and expanding. It was tested that strawberry extracts actually hinder the growth of cancerous cells.

Booster for Immune System

To have a long and healthy life, your immune system is the key. It's 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, which explains why they're often included in a weight loss diet plan. The role of aspartic acid is to remove excess toxins from your body. A cleansed and detoxified body tends to stay healthier and in better shape.

Selection and Storage of Strawberries

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're flown in from Austrialia or United States.

When choosing fresh fruit, look for ones that are bright, deep red and very glossy, without green or white hard tips. The caps and leaves should look fresh green. If you like sweet strawberries, go with the bright red, smaller ones. Large ones can be watery.

Also, ensure the top layer of ripe berries isn't hiding an unripe layer underneath because strawberries will not ripen after they were harvested. 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're ready to use them, wash them with the caps attached, under cool running water. Removing the caps cause the strawberries to absorb too much water and become soggy. After washing, you can pluck away the caps with your fingers or with a paring knife.

About the Author

Laura Ng invites you to find out more food health benefits at iOneHealth.com, so that you get a wider range of super foods to help improve your health dramatically, and maintain it in its best optimum condition to extend your life. Visit iOneHealth.com for more natural health remedies now, and kick your health to the next higher level.

(ArticlesBase SC #256625)

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