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Strawberries: the super fruit that could transform your health

A sweet-tasting fruit that can be eaten on its own or as part of a range of dishes, the strawberry is packed with health-giving nutrients and antioxidants.

A sweet-tasting fruit that can be eaten on its own or as part of a range of dishes, the strawberry is packed with health-giving nutrients and antioxidants.
Julian FinneyDiarioAS

Strawberries’ distinctive, sweet flavour makes them a favourite among fruit eaters. In 2022, more than half of all US consumers bought the fruit, whose popularity also comes down to its versatility. It can be eaten raw - either on its own or in desserts and salads - and can cooked as part of a range dishes. What’s more, it can be used to make all manner of jams, preserves, juices and smoothies.

And aside from its great taste and adaptability, the strawberry is brimming with nutrients and antioxidants that provide a host of health benefits. Indeed, it is described by some nutritionists as a “super fruit”.

Strawberries the right choice for weight watchers

The strawberry is very low in calories, making it an excellent choice if you’re watching your waistline. Indeed, 100 g of strawberries contains just 32 calories, notes Healthline’s Adda Bjarnadottir. By comparison, a single medium-sized banana - which typically weighs a little over 100 g - has about 110 calories, according to the Harvard Public School of Health. (And it’s worth noting that bananas themselves are considered a decent low-calorie option if you’re trying to shed a few pounds.)

The strawberry also has a good amount of fibre, Bjarnadottir points out; this, too, is helpful for weight management. As the United States’ National Library of Medicine explains, “Your body cannot break down most fibers, so eating foods with fiber can help you feel full and make you less likely to overeat.” The National Library of Medicine adds that fibre is also beneficial to the digestive system, helping to prevent constipation.

What are the main vitamins in strawberries?

Among the vitamins that you’ll find in strawberries, B9 (also known as folate) and C are the most abundant. Vitamin B9 helps tissues to grow and cells to work; vitamin C, meanwhile, is important for things like the skin, helping wounds to heal. It is likewise beneficial to the immune system, and helps us to absorb iron from plant-based foods. Iron, in turn, is used to make haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Vitamin C is also one of a number of useful antioxidants that are packed into strawberries. Per WebMD’s Dean Shaban, antioxidants guard against the harmful effects of unstable molecules, known as ‘free radicals’. If we have too many of these in our body, Shaban explains, they can damage cells and may make us more vulnerable to illnesses and conditions like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The benefits of strawberries’ minerals and flavonoids

When it comes to health-giving minerals in strawberries, the two headliners are potassium and manganese. Among other benefits, according to the Havard School of Public Health, potassium helps you to maintain a regular heartbeat and keep your body’s sodium levels in check. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure.

The chief advantages of manganese include its positive effect on bone health, the US’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) says. The trace mineral is also needed “for normal brain and nerve function,” the Mount Sinai Health System explains.

Another way in which strawberries are thought to enhance brain health is through flavonoids, a series of natural compounds that are present in the fruit. Flavonoids are not only responsible for giving the strawberry its trademark bright red colour, but have also been linked to improved cognitive performance among older adults.