In the winter months, I seek warmth, not only in the clothing that I wear but also in the food that I consume. I find myself gravitating toward soups and starches, squash and potatoes: food with substance. A few weeks into this heavy diet and my body starts to rebel: I start to feel sluggish and I just have an overall lack of energy. My body craves freshness and what better way to add some to my diet than with strawberries. When I think of strawberries, I think of warm summer evenings, sunshine and relaxation. With the grey skies and colder climates, a bowl of these red berries immediately brings a smile to my face. However; strawberries not only have these positive psychological benefits, but can actually enhance your physical health.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Did you know that strawberries have the highest natural source of Vitamin C? Even more than oranges? Vitamin C helps build our immune system and helps with the absorption of iron. So instead of having that glass of orange juice with your iron: have a broccoli salad with strawberries.
Strawberries not only build your overall immune system but can help strengthen your heart. Dr. Jenkins and his research team at the University of Toronto found that individuals who consumed a pint of strawberries once a week had lower LDL levels, decreased oxidative stress levels and in general, better overall heart health. This finding held no matter what form of strawberries the subjects consumed: whether frozen, fresh, organic or imported: all forms of strawberries had the same health benefits.
The reason for strawberries’ heart helping benefit is that these berries are rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids help improve the function of the cells that work in the circulatory system. As a direct result strawberries, have been found to increase heart health and can aid in regulating blood pressure.
Additional Benefits of Eating Strawberries
- They help build your immune system
- Enhanced brain functioning: protects you from oxidative stress and reduces age related declines
- Organ booster: protects cell structures
- Natural anti-inflammatory
- Helps whiten your teeth
- A high source of folate: which has been shown to decrease spinal defects in newborns if consumed by the pregnant mother
- High in fibre
- A natural antioxidant
Some Simple ways to Add Strawberries to your Diet
With all of these health benefits, there is absolutely no reason not to include some strawberries into your diet.
Exchange some of your starches and soups this winter for two fresher S’s: salads and smoothies. If you’re stuck for some recipes, the website: www.easy-strawberry-recipes.com has some excellent ideas for beverages, breakfast foods, desserts and salads.
Personally, I’m a salad girl. I love throwing strawberries in almost any salad. They taste great with nuts, make an excellent complement to other fruits and make a nice pairing with cheese.
The beauty of this berry is that it only takes 8 of them to have a complete serving: and who only stops at eating 8 strawberries.
And of course we cannot forget one of the more perfect pairings with strawberries: chocolate. Don’t worry, there are some health benefits with chocolate as well: just make sure it’s dark and of course decadent.